NU Online News Service, MAY 18, 1:59 p.m. EDT

American International Group Inc. said today it will “accelerate steps” to spin off its Asian life insurance operations into a company that would be listed on an Asian stock exchange.

The decision for the unit, one of the conglomerate’s premier properties, was announced in Hong Kong. The move is consistent with comments the firm made when it reported year-end earnings March 2.

The AIA Group has been serving Asia for 90 years.

The spin-off will result in a board of directors and management team separate from AIG, the company said.

AIG said it has retained the Blackstone Group, its global financial advisor for the restructuring program, as its advisor for the initial public offering.

The AIA Group has branch offices, subsidiaries and affiliates located in jurisdictions including Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

AIG officials said that, subject to regulatory approvals, AIG intends to incorporate the Philam Group of Companies, based in the Philippines, and ALICO Taiwan into the AIA Group.

AIG said AIA has 250,000 agents and 20,000 employees across 13 geographical markets, and serves over 20 million customers in the region. It has assets of $60 billion.

An AIG official said the company does not break out the revenues and profits of any of its subsidiaries. The spin-off action, the company said, is subject to “market conditions and subject to regulatory approval.”

“We continue to consider all strategic options through a robust, structured and disciplined process,” said Edward Liddy, chairman and chief executive officer of AIG.

“At this stage, we believe that a public listing for AIA would be in the best interests of all stakeholders, including U.S. taxpayers, policyholders, employees and distribution partners,” Mr. Liddy said.

AIG has been divesting itself of companies within its corporate umbrella in order to pay off the billions in government bailout money it began receiving last September when the company nearly collapsed after major losses on collateralized debt obligations investments.