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September 19, 2017

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Online insurer eyes US$1.5b in HK IPO

ZHONG An Online Property & Casualty Co, China’s first online insurer, plans to raise up to US$1.5 billion when it debuts on the Hong Kong stock exchange next week, the company said over the weekend.

The company will sell 199.2 million new shares between HK$53.70 and HK$59.70 (US$6.87 and US$7.64) per share in its initial public offering in Hong Kong, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The final price will be decided on Thursday, with its debut expected on September 28.

That will put Zhong An’s market value at HK$11 billion if the price is set at the top of the range. The Institute of China Insurance hoped for a market value of 3.17 billion yuan (US$484 million) while UBS expected that between HK$72.7 billion and HK$101.2 billion.

The insurer said it will use the funds to replenish capital. It will also invest more in technology and develop more products to sell to other insurers and partners.

Japan’s SoftBank agreed to invest more than US$500 million for a nearly 5 percent of the total stake in Zhong An as a cornerstone investor.

Gross premium income of Zhong An totaled 3 billion yuan in the first seven months this year, close to the whole-year profit of 3.4 billion in 2016.

Zhong An was set up in 2013 by Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Tencent Chairman Pony Ma, and Ping An Insurance chairman Peter Ma to sell insurance online and develop insurance technology. It got China’s first online insurance license to operate on the Internet.

By the end of March the insurer has sold 8.2 billion insurance policies to 543 million consumers in the e-commerce, travel, health care, auto, and finance sectors.


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