Salem Radio Network News Friday, December 3, 2021

Business

Exclusive: Tycoon Richard Li’s FWD considers shifting US IPO to Hong Kong – sources

By Scott Murdoch, Julie Zhu and Kane Wu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian insurer FWD Group, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, is contemplating shifting its $2-$3 billion share sale from the United States to Hong Kong, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Hong Kong-based company, which filed confidentially in June for the New York initial public offering (IPO), is considering the switch amid delays by U.S. regulators scrutinising the plan and lacklustre interest from investors, the sources told Reuters.

A FWD spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday when asked by Reuters about a possible change in the listing venue.

The insurer has yet to receive the nod from U.S. regulators for its IPO to go ahead before the end of the year, a timetable that sources had flagged previously.

One source said the delays had increased concerns that approval would not be granted, while the second source cited lukewarm interest from investors.

The delayed approval process has prompted FWD and its advisors to consider returning to Hong Kong for its market debut, the two sources said.

FWD has faced questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission on its mainland China ties and has been treated by authorities as a Chinese business rather than a Hong Kong entity, said one of the sources and a third person.

The three sources could not be named as the information has not yet been made public.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch, Julie Zhu and Kane Wu in Hong Kong; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Jane Wardell)

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