Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li’s FWD to raise up to $3bn in US IPO

FWD, the Asian insurance provider established by the child of Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing, has actually applied for a US going public in what would be among the year’s greatest listings.

The business introduced by Richard Li in 2013 stated on Thursday that it had actually in complete confidence sent filings for the IPO to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. That permits it to send files to the SEC prior to submitting a prospectus openly.

FWD stated the variety of American depositary shares to be used and the rate variety for the IPO had actually not yet been identified and the timing of the listing underwent regulative approval. However the business might look for $2-3bn from the share sale, according to individuals familiar with the scenario.

FWD has actually broadened strongly throughout Asia, quickly presenting a network throughout 10 nations consisting of Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.

The insurance provider has nearly 10m consumers, more than $63bn in possessions and about 6,100 staff members along with 33,000 representatives.

Richard Harris, a fund supervisor at Hong Kong-based Port Shelter Financial investment Management, stated FWD “has made enormous gains [in market share] because it’s got a lot of firepower behind it”.

As with Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong corporation, FWD “takes a strategic view on industries and invests very heavily in them”, Harris stated.

He included that it was “interesting” that the insurance provider had actually picked to list in New york city over Hong Kong, however United States financiers “will be interested [in FWD] and there does seem to be a slight thawing with the view towards Chinese companies — and this will be recognised in New York as a Chinese company”.

Li began FWD with the $1.2bn acquisition of ING’s pension and insurance coverage companies in Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau. The growth technique of Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD’s president, has actually concentrated on pairing moves into brand-new Asian markets with using innovation to lower the documentation and intricacy typical to the market in the area.

The group has actually engulfed rivals as competing monetary groups have actually pulled away from the area, consisting of MetLife’s Hong Kong organization and the insurance coverage organization of Thailand’s Siam Commercial bank, the market’s largest-ever takeover in south-east Asia.

“[SCB was] the prize asset that everybody wanted to go after,” Phong informed the Financial Times in an interview this year. FWD ultimately obtained SCB for about Bt93bn ($3bn) in 2019, offering it a 36 percent market share in Thailand in bancassurance terms, larger than the next 3 groups integrated.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.