REFILE-CORRECTED-DEALTALK-AIG sale of AIA stake faces tough slog

jueves 29 de enero de 2009 10:00 CET

(Refiles to edit throughout)

(Corrects to show Clarkson is from S&P in paragraphs 5 and 23, not Fitch)

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By Michael Flaherty

HONG KONG, Jan 23 (Reuters) - American International Group's (AIG.N) sale of a minority stake in its more than $20 billion Asian life insurance unit faces an uphill climb in a down market.

AIG's subsidiary, American International Assurance Company Ltd. (AIA), has a long history in the region, particularly in China, and has dominant market share in several, fast-growing countries.

That's an enticing prospect for any buyer bullish about not just the company's future, but Asia broadly.

But the sale process faces several challenges, including falling demand across the insurance industry, lack of funding for buyers, and short-term economic outlook that is anything but bright.

"It's true that it's tough times at the moment," said Standard and Poor's director Paul Clarkson, who covers insurance companies.   Continuación...