Media Coverage

Fosun CEO named capital markets person of year

Resource:FinanceAsia Editors

Liang Xinjun, vice chairman and chief executive of Fosun International, was named FinanceAsia's capital markets person of the year for 2014 at our annual awards dinner on Wednesday night.

 

Held at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Hong Kong, the event attracted more than a hundred bankers and company executives, celebrating the past year’s achievements in terms of deal-making.

Liang, co-founder of Fosun, China’s largest privately owned conglomerate, is one of the new-generation of Chinese entrepreneurs looking at buying global assets.

 

He was born in Zhejiang province in China, a birthplace of many Chinese entrepreneurs including Alibaba’s Jack Ma.

 

Liang started his business with some alumni of Fudan University in Shanghai following graduation. The business was later renamed Fosun and soon developed into a conglomerate across diverse industries such as pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, real estate and insurance.

 

Fosun has become one of the most prolific cross-border dealmakers in China, spending more than $8 billion in the past two years, with last year especially fruitful for the group.

 

In 2014 Fosun made a string of deals, including the purchase of a 23% stake in German tailor Tom Tailor (July) and a 20% stake in US insurer Ironshore for $463 million (August).

 

In September, the company bought a 0.6% stake in Sinopec Sales, the retail arm of Chinese oil and gas giant Sinopec, for Rmb2.1 billion ($342 million).

 

Fosun last year also invested in Studio 8, a Hollywood movie studio, with the goal of bringing some Hollywood film-making knowhow to China to develop the domestic industry.

 

The Chinese group is seeking to emulate Warren Buffett, who has used premiums generated by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations to finance investments. It is no surprise then that insurance also featured in its 2014 deal spree.

 

In October, Fosun bought Portuguese insurer Caixa Seguros e Saudea for €459.8 million ($587 million). It also bought US insurer Meadowbrook for $433 million in December; a 20% stake in Ironshore in August; and 80% of Portugal’s Fidelidade in January.

 

The group is planning to buy more financial companies, such as an insurer or a bank, especially from Europe or Japan.

 

Fosun has Rmb34 billion in private funds it can tap and uses its own balance sheet for greenfield investments or purchases of companies with high-beta earnings; such as its purchase of Australian oil exploration and production operator Roc Oil, which closed in November.

 

The group’s balance sheet also benefits from disposals. In the past three years Fosun has sold Rmb5 billion worth of assets annually. 

 

Liang is central to this activity, ambition and success and, with 2014 proving a particularly busy year for the group, it is perhaps no surprise he sleeps for just four hours a day, according to Fosun employees.