Fairfax Financial preparing to buy 35% stake in Vietnam's BIDV Insurance

TORONTO – Fairfax Financial Holdings (TSX:FFH) says it is working on a deal to buy a 35 per cent equity stake in BIDV Insurance, which has commercial ties with one of Vietnam’s largest banks and a presence in Cambodia and Laos.

Fairfax didn’t disclose financial terms of the agreement, which it expects to close in the third quarter of 2015.

BIDV Insurance has an exclusive arrangement with its largest shareholder, Vietnam’s Bank for Investment and Development, that allows the insurer to sell products to a client base of seven million clients through a branch network of 1,000 offices.

Toronto-based Fairfax invests primarily in North American property and casualty insurers but has been expanding its presence in the Asia, including India.

“(BIDV Insurance) has a very strong presence in Vietnam, as well as Cambodia and Laos, and this is a great opportunity for us to expand in the region with a partner with a strong history of growth and focus on profitability,” said Prem Watsa, the chairman and chief executive of Fairfax Financial.

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