Defence minister arrives in South Korea

16th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

SEOUL, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - France's defence minister arrived here Friday for talks on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchanges, officials of South Korea's defence ministry said.

SEOUL, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - France's defence minister arrived here Friday for talks on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchanges, officials of South Korea's defence ministry said.

Michele Alliot-Marie was to meet with her South Korean counterpart Kim Jang-Soo later Friday to discuss ways to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries, the ministry said.

"The French defence minister's trip comes as South Korea and France are stepping up efforts for closer ties in various defence fields," said ministry spokesman Colonel Kang Yong-Hee.

During her three-day stay, Alliot-Marie will also meet with President Roh Moo-hyun on Sunday, tour the inter-Korean border and meet with French business leaders here.

South Korea signed a contract last year with Eurocopter, a subsidiary of European aerospace and defence giant EADS, to produce 245 military transport helicopters in a technolgy tie-up.

The project is worth a total of 6.0-8.0 billion dollars.   Alliot-Marie, who also visited Japan on her current Asian swing, will leave for China on Sunday.

French firm acquires South Korea's top on-line auto insurer

SEOUL, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - Top French insurer AXA on Friday signed a contract to acquire South Korea's largest on-line auto insurance company, company officials said.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed here, Kyobo Life Insurance Co will sell all its 74.7 percent controlling stake in its online auto insurance unit Kyobo Auto Insurance to AXA, Kyobo Life said in a press statement.

Given a greenlight for the deal from financial watchdogs here, AXA will become the first foreign insurance company to gain access to South Korea's auto insurance market. South Korea has some 13 million registered vehicles.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Yonhap News Agency said the deal was worth 90.5 billion won (95.7 million dollars), including 40 billion won in a management premium.

The per-share nominal value of the auto insurance unit is 5,000 won.

"Kyobo Life decided to spin off Kyobo Auto Insurance as synergies between life insurance and auto insurance operations will be weaker-than-expected in the long-term," Kyobo Life said.

Launched in October 2001, the auto insurance company has 1,200 employees and total assets worth 220.6 billon won. It had a 35 percent share in the local on-line auto insurance market as of the end of December.

Kyobo Life said AXA has given a full job guarantee to Kyobo Auto's employees.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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