FWD Group raises US$1.4 billion ahead of Hong Kong IPO -sources

HONG KONG :Asia-focused insurer FWD Group has raised US$1.4 billion via a private placement of shares ahead of its long-planned initial public offering (IPO) that will now be carried out in Hong Kong, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

A decision to shift to Hong Kong was made after regulatory approval for FWD's planned U.S. IPO of US$2 billion to US$3 billion was delayed.

The company received preminary approval last week for the Securites and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to carry out a marketing roadshow to investors but still required full sign-off from regulators, according to the sources

The sources could not be named as the information was not yet made public. FWD declined to comment.

Founder Richard Li's weighted voting rights will be dropped to allow the company to meet Hong Kong's listing rules which only permit those deemed as innovative to have that share structure, the sources said.

The size and time-frame of the Hong Kong IPO has yet be determined, the sources said.

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The share price performance of Chinese companies listed in the United States, led by Didi Global Inc, prompted the company to switch its listing to Hong Kong.

FWD will be valued at US$9 billion on a post-money basis, the sources said.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates)

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