Richard Li delays insurer FWD’s Hong Kong listing over market conditions

FWD has delayed its $1bn Hong Kong initial public offering due to market conditions, the latest in a string of listings setbacks for the Asian insurer founded by a son of property tycoon Li Ka-shing.

People familiar with the matter said the company founded by Richard Li, which had sought a valuation of about $9bn and was recently approved by Hong Kong’s stock exchange to go ahead with the share sale, could resume its IPO when markets become more favourable.

“It’s definitely off the table for now,” one of the people said, adding that while the company’s board had approved the delay, “at the end of the day this was Richard’s decision”.

FWD, launched in 2013, applied to list in the Asian financial hub in February, hoping to end a game of listings pinball in which its intended venue has ricocheted from Hong Kong to New York and back again.

“There’s more at stake here than money,” the person added. He said the latest delay for FWD’s listing would be a loss of face for Li in his hometown, but pushing ahead with the listing would risk the same outcome if shares fell on their first trading day.

The delay is also a blow for Hong Kong’s stock exchange in what has been a punishing year for new business.

IPOs in the city raised just $1.7bn in the first quarter, reflecting a drop of 90 per cent from a year ago, as the once steady flow from China dried up in the face of a crackdown by Beijing on overseas listings and markets roiled by the war in Ukraine.

By 4difm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.