Asian insurer FWD delays $1 billion Hong Kong IPO – sources

The company logo of FWD is displayed at the lobby of a commercial building where one of its offices is located in Hong Kong, China August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Asian insurer FWD Group has delayed its $1 billion Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) because of volatile financial markets, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

FWD declined to comment. The sources could not be named as the information was not yet made public.

FWD has a business presence in 10 markets in Asia.

The insurer, controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, had planned to list in the United States last year to raise $2-$3 billion but switched back to Hong Kong after regulatory approval was delayed.

However, with financial markets roiled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising interest rates making investors increasingly wary of buying into new stock issues, the group has decided to delay the IPO, the sources said.

The insurer raised $1.6 billion in two private funding rounds since December which reduced the amount that FWD planned to raise in the Hong Kong IPO, one source had previously told Reuters. After those rounds, FWD was valued at around $9 billion.

An IPO of $1 billion from FWD would have given Hong Kong’s struggling equity capital markets a much needed boost in 2022.

Hong Kong share sales are down 90% so far this year compared to 2021, the slowest start to the year since 2013, according to Refinitiv data.

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