THE board of American International Group (AIG) is set to meet this week to consider the future of its AIA unit, with a public float seen as the most likely outcome, sources said yesterday.

An initial public offering (IPO) of AIA, the Asian life insurance business of AIG, was a more attainable option, the sources said, as pursuing another acquisition offer would present a new round of execution risks and potential funding issues for a buyer.

The sources, who are directly involved in the matter but not authorised to speak publicly about it, said AIG's board would meet in New York today .

No final decision on what path AIA should follow had been made, they said.

Speculation of AIA fielding an outside offer gained fresh attention yesterday. The South China Morning Post reported that four Chinese groups approached AIG and the US Treasury soon after Britain's Prudential withdrew its 35,5bn bid for AIA last month after trying unsuccessfully to renegotiate the price.

While a second, knockout offer is always possible, the spectacular flameout of Prudential's bid took its toll on both companies, and led to internal wounds on both sides - including disagreements within AIG's top management. AIG declined to comment on the IPO and the Chinese offers. Reuters