Prudential shares halted in Hong Kong pending news

28th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Trading of Prudential shares in Hong Kong was halted Friday following reports the British insurance giant is trying to chop the multi-billion dollar pricetag for its takeover of Asian insurer AIA.

In a statement to the financial hub's exchange, Prudential asked that trading in its shares be halted pending "price sensitive information" without elaborating.

Prudential shares closed at 59 Hong Kong dollars (7.60 US dollars) on Thursday before Friday's pre-market opening announcement, below their 59.70 Hong Kong dollar price when they were first listed on Tuesday.

Prudential listed its shares in Hong Kong and Singapore this week in a bid to woo Asian investors ahead of a 21-billion-US-dollar rights issue to buy the Asian arm of troubled US insurer American International Group (AIG).

The listings in Hong Kong and Singapore were done by way of introduction, meaning that the company added new trading venues without issuing new shares.

But the mega-takeover of AIA has attracted controversy, with some institutional investors warning they will try to block it.

That has prompted Prudential to try to negotiate down the takeover's whopping 35.5-billion-dollar price, the Financial Times said Friday.

The firm has asked investors opposed to the deal whether a reduced price tag would win their favour in an effort to avoid a "no" vote on the takeover, said the paper, citing people familiar with the situation.

It now hopes to cut the cost to as low as 30 billion US dollars (24 billion euros, 21 billion pounds), according to the paper.

© 2010 AFP

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