Shares in insurance giant AIA jumped again Thursday, rising more than three percent after a report this week said it may buy the Asian insurance operations of Dutch financial services firm ING Group.
A spokeswoman for AIA, which listed in Hong Kong in 2010 after a $20.5 billion share sale, declined comment Thursday on the Dow Jones Newswires report which valued the possible deal at about 5.0 billion euros ($6.4 billion).
AIA shares were trading at HK$25.60 ($3.30) by the break Thursday.
Citing unnamed sources, Dow Jones said AIA had asked several banks to conduct a feasibility study but had not made a final decision on the purchase.
ING last week put its Asian business up for sale after scrapping plans to float the unit along with its European insurance operations, saying a tough market in Europe no longer made a combined European-Asian IPO sensible.
The European Commission told ING it would have to sell its global insurance arm in order to win approval for 10 billion euros in state aid received during the financial crisis.
Last week, ING said it needed more time to repay the aid because it has to protect its capital base amid current market turmoil and, in another sign of worsening conditions, scale down financial targets for its banking unit.
AIA's Hong Kong share sale was the world's third-biggest initial public offering at the time.
Some of the cash was earmarked for helping its then parent, troubled US insurer American International Group, pay off a $182 billion US government bailout it received at the height of the global financial crisis.
Once the world's largest insurer, AIG received the massive government cash injection as it teetered on the brink of collapse in 2008 and threatened to take down a number of large banks with it.