China Life (LFE.NYSE, 601628.SH, 2628.HK), the nation’s largest life insurer by premiums, made conflicting comments Thursday about whether it will subscribe to AIA’s pending initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported. Yang Chao, the firm’s chairman, said that he was in "direct touch" with management at AIA’s parent company, the troubled American International Group (AIG; AIG.NYSE). However, other comments made the same day attempted to dispel rumors that the firm was at the head of a Chinese consortium trying to grab 30% of AIA. Previous plans by China Life to purchase part of AIA included tentative talks with AIG in 2008, but these plans fell through in March of this year. Most recently, a US$35.5 billion takeover bid from UK insurance firm Prudential (PUK.NYSE, PRU.LSE, 2378.HK) was abandoned in June. China Life posted a year-on-year net profit growth of 7.4% for the first half, fueled by premium growth, and the firm says it has no need for short-term financing.
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