Daily Telegraph: Lloyd's leads rush for Chinese
van der Veer, Shell's chief executive, added that Shell
was keen to grow its business in China.": Thursday 10
Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed:
Lloyd's of London spear-headed a major push into China
by some of the UK's biggest companies yesterday after
the insurer was given the go-ahead to start selling
reinsurance in China.
Other British deals with Chinese
companies were signed yesterday by Rolls-Royce, Arup and
Collins Stewart Tullett, while BP and Shell said that
they were wanted to expand their operations there.
Jintao with Tony Blair at Number 10
The flurry of deals coincided with
the visit to Britain of China's president Hu Jintao and
underlines UK plc's determination to exploit the
opportunities presented by China, which is undergoing
its own industrial revolution.
Lord Levene, Lloyd's chairman, said
Lloyd's will be able to reinsure local currency business
which makes up nearly 90pc of the total Chinese market.
He said: "This is a huge day for
Lloyd's. Lloyd's has been working on this deal for the
past six years and I have done for the past three years.
"China is becoming the second
largest economy in the world and we have got to be in
there. The sky is the limit. In 20 years' time it will
be very substantial."
Lord Levene said the deal compared
with Lloyd's reaction to the 1906 San Francisco
earthquake when the insurer helped to rebuild the city.
The US market is now Lloyd's biggest, worth $9billion.
Separately, Collins Stewart said it
had won approval to open up a money broking operation in
China after three years of negotiations. Terry Smith,
chief executive, said: "It is a great opportunity - we
are the first people in there."
The joint venture with Shanghai
International Group should be up and running by
Christmas. "It is potentially the world's largest
market," said Mr Smith. "This is the workshop of the
world and you would expect it to become one of the
At 10 Downing Street yesterday,
president Hu and Prime Minister Tony Blair witnessed
deals worth $1.3billion being formally signed between
British and Chinese companies.
The biggest was Rolls-Royce's $800m
agreement to supply Air China with Trent 700 engines for
a fleet of 20 Airbus A330-200 widebody jets. Engineering
consultant Arup was also hired to develop a master-plan
for three new cities by the Shanghai Industrial
Earlier, President Hu told a meeting
at Buckingham Palace of the chief executives and
chairmen of some of Britain's top companies: "I see the
great potential for future growth and I am happy about
it." Speaking on the sidelines, Lord Browne of Madingley,
BP chief executive, said there was "more of China for
BP", adding: "We are the largest British investor but
this needs to be expanded."
Rather than take a big stake in a
Chinese company - such as BP's £4.3billion investment in
Russia's TNK two years ago - Lord Browne said BP was
focused on building alliances with joint venture
He said: "TNK was specific to
Russia. It is a great deal. Who knows if it would work
with China? You have to remember the vast bulk of the
oil and gas industry is in the hands of the state."
Jeroen van der Veer, Shell's chief
executive, added that Shell was keen to grow its
business in China.
The meeting was co-ordinated by the
China Britain Business Council.