Carlyle to sell $1.8 billion China Pacific stake: sources

By Denny Thomas and Daniel Stanton

HONG KONG (BestGrowthStock) – Carlyle Group (CYL.UL: ) is offloading a further $1.8 billion stake in China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd (2601.HK: ) in what is on track to be the largest exit ever of a private investment in Asia.

Carlyle’s remaining stake is worth around $2.5 billion, having sold $860 million worth of shares on December 30. Carlyle had paid just $800 million in a series of investments between 2005 and 2007 for a 15.4 percent stake in China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd (2601.HK: ).

Carlyle is selling 415 million more shares in CPIC, China’s third largest insurer, at a discount of 0 to 0.5 percent of the last traded price, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Carlyle declined to comment. CPIC could not immediately be reached.

Goldman Sachs (GS.N: ) was arranging the sale, the sources added. Goldman declined to comment.

Carlyle started crystallizing its profit soon after its lock-up period expired in late December. CPIC listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in December 2009 and under the terms of the IPO, Carlyle was barred some selling shares for one year.

Carlyle built its China Pacific stake over a series of investments.

In late 2005, Carlyle and U.S. firm Prudential Financial Inc (PRU.N: ) jointly invested $410 million for a near 25 percent stake in the life insurance unit of China Pacific Group, beating off rival bidders including AIG (AIG.N: ), Citigroup (C.N: ) and Singapore state investor Temasek (TEM.UL: ).

X.D. Yang, a Hong Kong-based managing director for Carlyle’s Asia buyout fund, was the dealmaker for the China Pacific investment in 2005.

(Editing by Michael Flaherty and David Holmes)