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Chinese online insurer ZhongAn starts US$1.5b Hong Kong IPO

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ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, China's largest online insurer, started taking orders for a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise as much as US$1.5 billion.

[HONG KONG] ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, China's largest online insurer, started taking orders for a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise as much as US$1.5 billion.

The Shanghai-based company is offering 199.3 million new shares at HK$53.70 to HK$59.70 apiece, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg. Japan's SoftBank Group agreed to purchase 71.9 million shares, worth as much as US$550 million, as the sole cornerstone investor in the offering, the terms show.

ZhongAn is pursuing the first major fintech listing in Hong Kong amid a rally in the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index, which last month hit its highest level in more than two years.

Any deal would add to the US$9.3 billion of first-time share sales in Hong Kong this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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The company plans to use proceeds from the offering to strength its capital base to support business growth, according to the terms.

ZhongAn aims to price the offering Sept 21 and begin trading Sept 28, the terms show.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS Group AG and CMB International Securities are joint sponsors of the offering.

Ant Financial, the online-payments provider backed by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, is ZhongAn's biggest shareholder with a 16 per cent stake, according to a prospectus filed to the Hong Kong exchange.

Ping An Insurance Group and Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. each hold 12 per cent of ZhongAn, the filing shows.

ZhongAn raised 5.8 billion yuan (S$1.19 billion) from a group of investors including Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corp in a 2015 funding round.

That share sale valued the company at 49.6 billion yuan, ZhongAn said at the time.

BLOOMBERG