FWD Group files for IPO seeking up to $3bn

FWD, the Asian insurer owned by the son of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, submitted an initial public offering in the US in one of the biggest listings of the year.

The company, founded in 2013 by Richard Li, said Thursday that he had confidentially filed the IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This allows him to submit documents to the SEC before a prospectus is submitted to the public.

According to FWD, the number of US shares to be offered and the pricing for the IPO have not yet been determined, and the timing of the listing is subject to regulatory approval. However, according to people familiar with the situation, the company could sell $ 2-3 billion from the shares.

FWD has expanded aggressively in Asia and rapidly expanded a network in ten countries, including Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

The insurer has nearly 10 million customers, more than $ 63 billion in assets and about 6,100 employees, as well as 33,000 agents.

Li started FWD with the acquisition of ING’s $ 1.2 billion pension and insurance business in Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau. The expansion strategy of FWD CEO Huynh Thanh Phong has focused on linking movements to new Asian markets with the use of technology to reduce paperwork and industry complexity.

The group engulfed competitors as competing financial groups withdrew from the region, including MetLife’s Hong Kong Business and the insurance industry of Thailand Siam Handelsbank, the largest takeover of the industry ever in Southeast Asia.

‘[SCB was] the price asset that everyone wanted to go to, ”Phong told the Financial Times this year in an interview. Finally, in 2019, FWD acquired SCB for approximately $ 93 billion ($ 3 billion), giving a market share of 36 percent in Thailand on bank insurance, larger than the next three groups combined.

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