Tycoon Richard Li’s FWD makes U.S. IPO filing public

Insurance company FWD Group Holdings Ltd, owned by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li Tzar-kai, made its filing for a stock market listing in the United States public on Thursday, revealing a jump in revenue last year.

The insurer, which will list through an initial public offering (IPO), posted revenue of $9.49 billion last year. FWD also said its net loss applicable to shareholders narrowed to $243 million in the year ended Dec. 31, 2020, compared with a $278 million loss a year earlier.

The company had confidentially filed for the listing in June. FWD has not yet set the terms for its IPO, but Reuters had reported it could raise $2 billion to $3 billion, valuing the company at $13 billion to $15 billion.

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 Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand units for $2.1 billion, and it has since continued this bolt-on approach.

Major acquisitions include the $3 billion purchase of Siam Commercial Bank PCL’s (SCB.BK) life insurance unit in Thailand in 2019, just days after agreeing to buy the Hong Kong operations of U.S. insurer MetLife Inc (MET.N).

There has been indicative interest in up to $500 million of the stock to be sold in the IPO, according to the filings.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation has indicated it could buy up to $300 million worth of stock, while Richard Li’s PCCW Ltd (0008.HK) could take $100 million, the filings showed.

FWD’s controlling shareholder, Pacific Century Group – another Richard Li firm – has also flagged its interest to invest $100 million.

The indicative orders account for nearly one quarter of the IPO at the lower end of the proposed raising range.

FWD also said it would raise $400 million from Apollo Global Management Inc (APO.N) in a private placement as part of a new asset and investment management agreement. – Reuters

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