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Struggling Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. may scrap plans to team up with nonlife insurer Millea Holdings Inc. in 2004, Asahi officials said Thursday.

This is because of the difficulties Asahi has experienced in trying to convert itself into a stock company — a prerequisite for the planned management merger — due to the languishing stock market, the officials said.

An Asahi executive said, however, that the firm would consider the integration plan when it has “a clearer picture about plans to turn into a stock company.”

Analysts said Asahi may eventually be forced to liquidate its relations with the Millea group altogether. Millea was formed in April with Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. and Nichido Fire & Marine Insurance Co. as its core members.

Asahi is expected to unveil soon a new business plan designed to bolster its financial health, the officials said.

Under the new plan, the company will revise its business strategy by placing more emphasis on preventing policy cancellations rather than on attracting more policyholders.

It will also promote restructuring programs, including job cuts, the officials said.

Millea and Asahi have pursued merger plans since last January, when they abandoned an earlier plan to integrate their life insurance operations by merging Asahi and a Tokio Marine subsidiary.

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