Taiwan conglomerate Ruentex Group has emerged as the front runner to buy AIG's Taiwan unit, three sources with direct knowledge of the situation said on Thursday, as the bailed out insurer moves closer to wrapping up its second attempt to sell the asset.

Ruentex, a major player in the hypermarket business in China and Taiwan, is the only one of the four bidders drafting a final share purchase agreement with AIG, a sign that both parties are close to a deal, said the sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation.