Richard Li’s FWD seeks New York listing in the biggest US stock offering by a Hong Kong insurer
- The IPO values FWD at about US$13 billion, and the firm could raise up to US$2.5 billion, source says
- Listing could be the biggest US flotation by an insurer based in China and Hong Kong since China Life Insurance raised US$3.5 billion on the NYSE in 2003
PCGI Intermediate Holdings, its holding company, said on Thursday that it had made a confidential filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the IPO. Rumours of a listing by the insurer have been circulating in the market for two years now.
“The IPO is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions,” PCGI said in a press release.
FWD chose the US over Hong Kong because “the US equities market was the largest and the most liquid in the world”, according to a person familiar with the matter. Detailed terms – the number of American depositary receipts it was selling or the price range of these shares – were still unknown, they said. But the insurer, whose business spans 10 markets in Asia including Japan, was targeting raising US$2 billion to US$2.5 billion, the person familiar said. FWD declined to comment on the fundraising size.
If the IPO goes ahead as planned, FWD’s listing will be the biggest US flotation by a Hong Kong-based insurer, Refinitiv data shows. It will also be the largest IPO by an insurer headquartered in China and Hong Kong since China Life Insurance raised US$3.5 billion on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2003, the Refinitiv data shows. The IPO values FWD at about US$13 billion, the person familiar said.
“We are now in all the major markets that we aimed to build in,” Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD’s CEO, told the Post last year. “The BRI Life acquisition fits exactly into the same approach and strategy that we’ve adopted over the years,” he added.
FWD is now present in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia.
FWD was itself born out of a takeover deal. In 2012, Li bought the Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand insurance businesses of Dutch financial services company ING for US$2.1 billion. The insurer was renamed as FWD.
Pacific Century Group also includes Hong Kong telecoms group PCCW and Pacific Century Premium Developments, which develops property in Hong Kong and Asia.