FWD Group Holdings Ltd., the Asian insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li, has applied again for an IPO in Hong Kong as it now considers listing for next year amid market volatility.
The renewed application gives the insurer more time to continue preparing for a share sale in the city. The company has been trying to raise about $1 billion in an IPO, which could take place as early as the first quarter, though the final size and timing have not been formally set, Bloomberg News reported this month.
FWD’s new business value increased 24.6% year over year to $405 million in the first half of 2022, on a constant exchange rate basis, according to Tuesday’s latest filing. While the company reported an adjusted loss of $333 million for the six months ended June 30, pre-tax operating profit rose about 111% to $200 million from a year ago, a separate statement shows.
FWD initially planned to go public in the US, where it had filed for an IPO that could have raised as much as $3 billion. The plan ran into trouble amid growing concern from US regulators over the long arm of the Chinese government after a post-IPO probe by Didi Global Inc. gave the go-ahead for a broad crackdown on foreign listed companies.
The insurer moved to Hong Kong in December and, two months later, applied for a share sale in the Asian financial center for the first time. However, the company decided in May to postpone it due to weak market conditions. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., China Merchants International and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are the joint sponsors of the Hong Kong IPO.
FWD has previously raised more than $1.6 billion in private placements from investors, including an insurer backed by Apollo Global Management Inc. The placements would value the company at about $9 billion, which is about 1.2 to 1.3 times the embedded value, people familiar with said the matter at the time.
Photo: A FWD Group Holdings Ltd. store in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. FWD Group, the Asian insurer backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, filed for an IPO in the city after De Tensions between the US and China prevented more ambitious plans for an overseas debut. Photo credit: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg
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