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AIG unit sale likely to be approved

By Wang Wen  (China Daily)

08:47, December 12, 2012

Chinese group expected to take 90 percent stake in leasing arm

The largest Chinese acquisition ever in the US - a stake of up to 90 percent in the aircraft-leasing arm of American International Group Inc - is likely to be approved by both governments, according to experts.

A Chinese investor group led by New China Trust Co Ltd has signed an agreement with AIG to pay $4.23 billion for 80.1 percent of International Lease Finance Corp, the world's second-largest aircraft-leasing company by fleet. AIG, which wholly owns ILFC, announced on Sunday night that the Chinese investors have the option of acquiring an additional 9.9 percent stake.

The investor group, which also includes P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund, is expected to be expanded to included New China Life Insurance Co Ltd and an investment arm of ICBC International, according to the statement.

The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2013, AIG said. The two sides are waiting for approval from both the US and Chinese governments.

"I am optimistic on the acquisition, although it involves the largest amount of Chinese investors in the US," said He Maochun, director of the Research Center for Economic Diplomacy Studies at Tsinghua University's Institute of International Studies.

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