FWD Group prepares for $3 billion IPO

FWD Group, the Asia-focused insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li, is preparing for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.

FWD Group prepares for $3 billion IPO
FWD Group's IPO will be the largest by an insurance company since 2015. Photo/Source: FWD Vietnam

The listing is predicted to help FWD raise as much as $3 billion. If it happens, FWD’s IPO would be Asia’s biggest by an insurance company since Japan Post Holdings Co.’s $5.7 billion offering in 2015.

FWD has picked Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley to work on the potential share sale, according to Bloomberg. Besides, HSBC is allegedly working on the offering, which could take place as soon as next year.

The insurer’s share sale will further boost Hong Kong’s IPO market, which has been dominated by listings of Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc., cited from Bloomberg.

The giant insurer has been very active in the M&A landscape recently. Last year, FWD spent $3 billion for a life insurance business in Thailand, followed by a bancassurance deal with state-owned lender Vietcombank in Vietnam.

In April, FWD successfully secured regulatory approval to proceed with the previously announced acquisition of Vietcombank-Cardif Life Insurance, a life insurance joint venture between leading state-owned Vietcombank and French partner BNP Paribas Cardif.

The tie-up, rumoured to be worth anywhere between $400 million and $1 billion, is slated to strengthen FWD’s presence in Vietnam as well as underline the company’s continued confidence in the long-term growth potential of Vietnam.

“Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing insurance markets in Asia and we are excited to expand our presence through this significant acquisition,” said Huynh Thanh Phong, CEO of FWD Vietnam.

In June, FWD acquired a significant minority stake in PT Rakyat Indonesia’s life insurer that values the business at about $1 billion. The firm also recently acquired two of MetLife Inc.’s Hong Kong units.


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