Exclusive-Tycoon Richard Li’s FWD considers shifting US IPO to Hong Kong


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The corporate brand of FWD is displayed on the foyer of a business constructing the place certainly one of its workplaces is situated in Hong Kong, China August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip


By Scott Murdoch, Julie Zhu and Kane Wu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian insurer FWD Group, managed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, is considering shifting its $2-$3 billion share sale from the USA to Hong Kong, stated two sources with direct data of the matter.

The Hong Kong-based firm, which filed confidentially in June for the New York preliminary public providing (IPO), is contemplating the swap amid delays by U.S. regulators scrutinising the plan and lacklustre curiosity from buyers, the sources instructed Reuters.

A FWD spokesman declined to touch upon Wednesday when requested by Reuters a couple of doable change within the itemizing venue.

The insurer has but to obtain the nod from U.S. regulators for its IPO to go forward earlier than the tip of the yr, a timetable that sources had flagged beforehand.

One supply stated the delays had elevated considerations that approval wouldn’t be granted, whereas the second supply cited lukewarm curiosity from buyers.

The uncertainty has prompted FWD and its advisors to contemplate returning to Hong Kong for its market debut, the 2 sources stated. A ultimate resolution has but to made, a 3rd supply stated.

FWD has confronted questions from the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee on its mainland China ties and has been handled by authorities as a Chinese language enterprise fairly than a Hong Kong entity, stated one of many sources and a fourth individual.

The 4 sources couldn’t be named as the data has not but been made public.

FWD final week filed amended prospectuses with the SEC that included an expanded threat issue part, which stated the corporate couldn’t assure Beijing wouldn’t intrude in its enterprise.

FWD emphasised within the submitting it had no mainland enterprise and maintained solely consultant workplaces, some info expertise and help workers in China.

The SEC has began to challenge new disclosure necessities to Chinese language firms looking for to listing in New York as a part of a push to spice up investor consciousness of the dangers concerned, Reuters reported in August.

FWD’s basis was laid in 2012 with the acquisition of ING’s Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand enterprise models for $2.1 billion, and it has since continued this bolt-on method to develop within the area.

It now has a enterprise presence in 10 markets in Asia and sources beforehand estimated the New York IPO would worth the corporate at between $13 billion and $15 billion.


A Hong Kong itemizing would require FWD to vary its dual-class shareholding construction, given it has weighted voting rights. Hong Kong’s itemizing guidelines solely allow weighted voting rights for progressive firms and FWD doesn’t match the trade’s definition of that class.

There was indicative curiosity in as much as $500 million value of the shares to be bought within the deliberate New York IPO, in response to the agency’s filings.

The muse of Richard Li’s father Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, has indicated it might purchase as much as $300 million value of inventory. Richard Li’s PCCW Ltd, a serious web service supplier in Hong Kong, might take $100 million, the filings confirmed.

FWD’s controlling shareholder, Pacific Century Group – one other Richard Li agency – has additionally flagged its curiosity to take a position $100 million.

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