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AIG says committed to closing Nan Shan sale

By Faith Hung and Rachel Lee

TAIPEI (Reuters) - American International Group Inc (AIG) <AIG.N> said on Tuesday it was confident of getting the regulatory nod for its $2.2 billion sale of Taiwan unit Nan Shan Life to a group led by China Strategic <0235.HK> and had no plans to sell the asset to any other party.

Bailed-out insurer AIG is raising money by selling some of its international assets to pay back aid received from the U.S. government as part of its rescue at the height of the financial crisis.

The 10-month old sale of Nan Shan Life has failed to clear regulatory hurdles amid concern the buyer group is backed by Chinese money and lacks experience in the insurance business or the ability to raise funds for future operations.

But Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission started a final review of the takeover by a group led by China Strategic earlier this month and will make a decision on the sale "as soon as possible," an official said.

AIG previously extended the deadline for the sale to mid-October.

"AIG has no intention of selling its stake to any other party, and, for example, will not entertain an offer from Chinatrust," AIG said in an email, responding to Reuters' queries.

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co <2891.TW>, Taiwan's top credit card issuer, had originally bid for Nan Shan last year, but it lost out to a consortium including China Strategic and Primus Financial.

AIG said it "remains confident that regulatory authorities will approve the transaction. If the deal were not approved, AIG would evaluate its options to limit any long-term commitments from its continued ownership in Nan Shan," the insurer added.

AIG is also planning to list its Asian life insurance business, American International Assurance Co Ltd, on the Hong Kong stock exchange later this year to raise funds to pay back the U.S. government.

Nan Shan has more than 4 million policyholders, nearly one-sixth of Taiwan's population.

($1=T$32)

(Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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