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December 24, 2009

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Insurer recoups losses to end up

CHINA Pacific Insurance (Group) Co recouped some of its earlier losses to end 1.1 percent up at HK$28.30 (US$3.63) on its Hong Kong debut yesterday.

The Shanghai-based insurer clawed back ground after a tepid morning trading session to eventually close above its initial public offering price of HK$28. The country's third-biggest insurer touched an intraday low of HK$27.50 yesterday, or 1.8 percent off its IPO price. The Hang Seng Index rose 1.12 percent yesterday to 21,328.74 yesterday.

"China Pacific's lukewarm debut in Hong Kong was in line with its lackluster A-share market performance," said Wen Tao, a Guosen Securities Co analyst.

There's a close link between the H shares and yuan-backed A shares among public insurers, he said. There is about a 10 percent premium in the A-share market over the H-share market.

China Pacific ended at 23.32 yuan (US$3.41) yesterday in Shanghai, up 0.34 percent. The key Shanghai Composite Index grew 0.76 percent to 3,073.78.

The insurer raised HK$24.1 billion last week in Hong Kong's second-largest public share sale this year. The insurer, partly owned by Carlyle Group and the National Social Security Fund, sold a combined 861.3 million shares, or 10.2 percent, of its share capital.

Gao Guofu, chairman of China Pacific, said in Hong Kong yesterday that the listing strengthened the insurer's capital to pave the way for future expansion.

He said the 26 times oversubscription for its IPO also showed investor confidence in the insurer.


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