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FWD Group raises $1.4 billion ahead of Hong Kong IPO: Reuters, citing sources

FWD insurance logo seen on a building in Singapore.

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Asia-focused insurer FWD Group has raised $1.4 billion via a private placement of shares ahead of its long-planned initial public offering (IPO) that will now be carried out in Hong Kong, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

A decision to shift to Hong Kong was made after regulatory approval for FWD’s planned U.S. IPO of $2 billion to $3 billion was delayed.

The company received preliminary approval last week from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to carry out a marketing roadshow to investors but still required full sign-off from regulators, according to the sources.

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

Founder Richard Li’s weighted voting rights will be dropped to allow FWD to meet Hong Kong’s listing rules which only permit companies deemed as innovative to have that share structure, the sources said.

The size and time frame of the Hong Kong IPO has yet be determined, the sources said.

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The lackluster share price performance of Chinese companies listed in the United States, led by Didi Global, prompted the company to switch its listing to Hong Kong.

FWD will be valued at $9 billion on a post-money basis, the sources said.

The Hong Kong-based insurer, controlled by billionaire Li, finalized the deal early on Tuesday which is led by investors Apollo Global Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the sources said.

They said other investors include Swiss RE, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Li’s Pacific Century Group, SCB Thailand and Metro Pacific Investment Corp (MPIC) from the Philippines.

CPPIB and Pacific Century Group declined to comment. The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Swiss Re, Apollo, SCB and MPIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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