Company To Watch: China Life Insurance/china
China Life Insurance, which accounts for nearly half of the life-insurance market in China, has been one of the top-performing depositary receipt issues in the world so far this year, with a gain of more than 160% in the year-to-date through November 15. The company’s investments have benefited from a rally in China’s equity markets, and its earnings have been boosted by strong gains in policy fees and premiums.
China Life went public on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Exchange in December 2003, becoming the first Chinese financial institution to list in both the US and Hong Kong. JPMorgan Chase is the depositary for its ADR program. As Global Finance went to press, China Life was expected to announce an issue of 1.5 billion so-called A-shares in Shanghai to take place before the end of this year.
Rising incomes in China are spurring demand for life insurance and other financial products. China Life offers individual and group life insurance, accident insurance, annuity contracts and health-insurance policies. China Life’s first-half 2006 earnings showed an increase of about 72% from the same period a year earlier.