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Standard Life Bank of China talks break down

Standard Life has announced that talks over a joint venture between themselves and Bank of China have broken down.

Standard Life was hoping that Bank of China would take a majority stake in its Heng An Standard Life business as it would have given it domestic insurance company status and therefore greater freedom to operate in China.

The joint venture is currently between Standard Life and state-owned investment agency Tianjin TEDA International, this has constrained where the firm can operate.

The joint venture, which sells insurance products, operates in 31 Chinese cities since its launch in 2003. The business has 350,000 customers, with £116m worth of business last year.

Standard Life announced in September 2009 that it was in final stage talks with Bank of China to take a majority stake in Heng An Standard Life.

Last month, chief executive David Nish travelled to China as part of a business entourage party alongside Prime Minister David Cameron. The company has also been backed by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond on a visit to Tianjin in July.

A statement on the London Stock Exchange this morning says: “It has not proved possible for the parties to reach agreement.

“Standard Life will continue to develop Heng An Standard Life in partnership with its existing joint venture partner, TEDA.”

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