Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li’s FWD delays $1bn IPO on market volatility

FWD Insurance Group has delayed its $ 1 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong due to volatile market conditions, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest in a string of listing failures for the insurer set up by asset tycoon Li Ka-shing.

FWD Asked for a valuation of about $ 9 billion and was only recently approved by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to continue selling the shares. The company can resume listing procedures when the markets are more comfortable, according to the people.

FWD, founded by Richard Lee in 2013, Applied to the list At the Asian Financial Center in February, after its attempt to sign up on Wall Street garnered intense criticism from U.S. regulators last year.

“It’s definitely off the table for now,” said one familiar man, adding that while the company’s board had approved the delay, “at the end of the day it was Richard’s decision.”

“There’s more at stake here than money,” the man said. the last one issue A delay would be a loss of face for Lee in his hometown, but a push forward would have risked the same result if the stocks had fallen on their first trading day.

The rejection is also a blow for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Change punish for new businesses. Issues in the city raised only $ 1.7 billion in the first quarter, reflecting a 90% decline from last year, when the steady flow of stock sales from China dried up in the face of the struggle over overseas listings and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hit markets.

Markets in Hong Kong and Greater China have been hit hard by growing uncertainty in recent months, with Cubid-19 locks on the continent threatening economic growth, pushing valuations down and lowering the city’s Hang Seng index by about a quarter compared to last year.

FWD asked to upload Up to $ 3 billion from US issuance Having been told the insurer is ineligible to register as an innovative company in Hong Kong, a requirement to seek weighted voting rights that help the company’s founders maintain control.

But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been examining the rapidly expanding group on its ties with China, according to people familiar with the issue. The political tension eventually led it to withdraw its application for US listing in December.

FWD, which has a limited presence in mainland China, has focused on acquiring businesses in Asia from retreating rivals, while building operations in 10 markets including Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Despite the recent delay, people familiar with Lee’s thinking said he still plans to make a listing in Hong Kong, even though there was no clear schedule to do so.

“They expect to go for it again, hopefully by the end of this year,” one person said. “It’s just the market is really, really bad.”

Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li’s FWD delays $1bn IPO on market volatility Source link Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li’s FWD delays $1bn IPO on market volatility

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