Richard Li’s FWD postpones its listing plan in Hong Kong amid persistent stock market slump, sources say
- FWD’s IPO is on hold because the market sentiment is really bad, but it has not been abandoned altogether and can be revived once the market improves, a source said
- The company will explore the Hong Kong listing plan before the end of 2022, the source said
FWD Group Holdings, the Hong Kong-based insurer backed by tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai, has decided to postpone its plan to list its shares on the city’s exchange due to ongoing market volatility.
FWD’s stock sale is on hold because the market sentiment is really bad, but it has not been abandoned altogether and can be revived once the market improves, the source said, declining to be named for discussing a matter that has not been announced. The company will explore the Hong Kong listing plan before the end of 2022, the source said.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 9.3 per cent this year, ranking as the 24th worst performer out of 92 global indexes. The market slump had deterred companies from raising funds, shrinking Hong Kong’s first-quarter IPOs down by 90 per cent to sixth place in worldwide rankings.
Companies applying for IPOs usually have a six-month window to kick off their fundraising in Hong Kong. FWD’s spokesperson declined to comment.
Hong Kong, the world’s top destination for IPOs in seven of the past 13 years, had been going through a drought since the middle of 2021, amid a cycle of relentless crackdowns by China’s regulators on technology companies. Sentiments were damped this year by resurgent Covid-19 outbreaks in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which raised concerns about whether China’s economy could sustain its growth pace.
A mere 11 companies raised US$1.72 billion on the main board of the Hong Kong exchange in the first three months, making the period the worst quarter since 2013, according to Refinitiv’s data.