China’s Anbang Denies Chairman Has Been Prevented from Leaving Country

June 5, 2017

Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., is free to travel, a spokesman for the Chinese insurer said on Friday, denying a report that Wu had been prevented from leaving China.

The Financial Times reported that Wu had been stopped from leaving the country, citing four sources who have had business dealings with him.

Anbang has emerged as one of China’s most aggressive buyers of overseas assets in the past two years, spending more than $30 billion acquiring luxury hotels, insurers and other property assets.

But Anbang has faced increasing pushback in its offshore deal-making, amid a broader decline in Chinese outbound acquisitions, as Beijing strengthens curbs over capital outflows to prevent potential shocks to its financial system.

The Chinese insurer ditched its attempt last year to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. for $14 billion, walking away from its most high-profile deal.

In April this year, U.S. annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL) terminated its $1.6 billion agreement to be acquired by the Chinese insurer after Anbang failed to secure all the necessary regulatory approvals.

A month earlier, Anbang and the Kushner Companies, the real estate firm until recently headed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said they had ended talks to redevelop a New York office tower.

(Reporting by Matthew Miller; writing by Ryan Woo; editing by Alexander Smith)

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