HONG KONG: People's Insurance Co of China (PICC), the country's largest property insurer, is aiming for a stock listing in Hong Kong in early November, banking sources said yesterday.
PICC had its listing hearing with Hong Kong's stock exchange last Thursday and was expected to get final approval for the deal later this week, the sources said.
The company and its bankers, Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corp, will begin pre-marketing the share offering once they get the green light from the exchange.
PICC, which is hoping to raise up to US$750mil from an initial public offering (IPO), will likely be the first of several mainland insurance giants to launch an overseas share sale.
There has been a steady stream of IPOs on the Hong Kong market in recent weeks as companies move to take advantage of improved equity market sentiment and as an economic recovery gathers pace.
China Life Insurance Co, the country's largest life insurer, is also planning an IPO by the end of this year that could raise about US$2bil.
China Life has applied to the Hong Kong exchange to list its shares in the city, but the date for the listing hearing has yet to be set.
PICC recently completed a shareholding restructuring to pave the way for an IPO, which included the establishment of an asset management firm for its listing vehicle.
The company aims to generate premiums of 57.5 billion yuan (US$6.95bil) this year, up from 54.8 billion yuan in 2002.
China is opening up its rapidly growing insurance industry by tearing down a cradle-to-grave welfare system for its 1.3 billion people.
Apart from PICC and China Life, the country’s second largest insurer Ping An Insurance is also eyeing an overseas share sale that would likely hit the market next year. – Reuters
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