Hong Kong magnate Richard Li’s FWD insurer releases U.S. IPO filing

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Insurance company FWD Group Holdings Ltd., owned by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, made public its application for listing in the United States on Thursday, revealing an increase in revenues last year.

The insurer, which will be listed through an initial public offering (IPO), reported sales of $ 9.49 billion last year. FWD also said its net loss applicable to shareholders fell to $ 243 million in the fiscal year ended Dec.31, 2020, from a loss of $ 278 million a year earlier.

The company had filed a confidential listing application in June. FWD has yet to set the terms for its IPO, but Reuters said it could raise $ 2-3 billion, valuing the company between $ 13 billion and $ 15 billion.

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Richard Li is the son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing. FWD’s foundation was laid in 2012 with the acquisition of ING’s units in Hong Kong, Macao and Thailand for $ 2.1 billion, and it has since continued this bolted approach.

Major acquisitions include the $ 3 billion purchase of Siam Commercial Bank PCL’s life insurance unit in Thailand in 2019, just days after agreeing to buy the US insurer’s Hong Kong business MetLife Inc.

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According to the filings, there was indicative interest in up to $ 500 million of shares for sale during the IPO.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation has said it could buy up to $ 300 million in shares, while Richard Li’s PCCW Ltd could take $ 100 million, according to the documents.

FWD’s majority shareholder, Pacific Century Group – another Richard Li company – has also expressed interest in investing $ 100 million.

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Indicative orders represent almost a quarter of the IPO at the lower end of the proposed uplift range.

FWD also announced that it will raise $ 400 million from Apollo Global Management Inc as part of a private placement under a new asset and investment management agreement.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bangalore and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Christopher Cushing)

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