Dutch insurer Vivat’s bond prices fell heavily on Thursday morning on concerns around the detention of the chairman of its Chinese owner Anbang.
Anbang said late on Tuesday that its chairman Wu Xiaohui is “unable to perform his duties” in a confirmation of Chinese media reports that he has been detained by authorities.
Vivat’s €650m 2.375% 2024 bond fell six points to 93.5 cents on the euro on Thursday morning, according to Tradeweb prices. The bond was issued at par little over a month ago on May 10, in the insurer’s first public bond deal since Anbang took control of Vivat.
Anbang bought the insurer from the Dutch government in 2015, while also injecting capital in the group to shore up its solvency. Vivat was the insurance arm of the Utrecht-based financial services group SNS Reaal, which ran into trouble after property loans turned sour and was nationalised in 2013 in a €3.7bn rescue.
Fitch is the only agency that rates Vivat’s bonds, assigning the senior unsecured bond a BBB- rating – the lowest rung of investment grade. Ratings agency S&P notably suspended its ratings on Vivat group in 2015 due to lack of information, announcing that they had “been unable to secure sufficient information to accurately assess the creditworthiness of Anbang Insurance Group”.
The declines in Vivat’s bonds follows similar selloffs in other assets linked to Anbang. Anbang itself is not a public company, but it owns stakes in a number of groups which are listed in Shanghai and Shenzen, and shares in many of the companies fell in Asian trading.
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