Online insurer Zhong An applies for US$1.5bn Hong Kong IPO
Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, which counts Alibaba and Tencent among its investors, is seeking to raise US$1.5 billion by listing in Hong Kong.
The Shanghai-based company has filed an application to the Hong Kong stock exchange targeting a listing as early as the end of 2017, raising up to US$1.5 billion, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, reported on Friday.
Founded in 2013, Zhong An’s largest shareholder is Alibaba’s financial-services affiliate Ant Financial, which has a 16 per cent stake. Internet giant Tencent, and Ping An Insurance, China’s second largest insurer, are the joint-second largest shareholders, each with 12.08 per cent.
If the deal goes through, Zhong An will be the first financial technology company to be listed in Hong Kong.
Making use of big data analytics, the company designs and offers innovative ecosystem-oriented insurance products through scenario-based policies covering things like phone loss and flight delays.
Zhong An claims to be the largest insurer in China in terms of the number of customers served and policies sold. From its inception in October 2013 to the end of 2016, it sold over 7.2 billion insurance products and served over 492 million customers, according to the company’s filing to the Hong Kong bourse on Friday.
Its net profits for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were 36.9 million yuan, 44.2 million yuan and 9.4 million yuan respectively, while its gross written premium in those years was 794 million yuan, 2.3 billion yuan and 3.4 billion yuan respectively.
The large change in profit was due to the significant growth of the firm’s consultation fees and service charges, according to the filing. The company expected the related fees to increase quickly and outpace the growth of the net premiums as it continues to expand and deepen cooperation with shareholders and other ecosystem partners.