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Tycoon Richard Li's FWD ramps up US dollar bond sales amid expansion

[HONG KONG] Billionaire Richard Li's FWD Group Ltd is boosting its US dollar bond sales as it snaps up assets in South-east Asia in a rapid expansion in the region.

From zero issuance last year, the acquisitive insurer sold US$1.66 billion in five offerings this year in its biggest annual sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its parent PCGI Intermediate Holdings Ltd sold a US$250 million five-year dollar bond this week to help fund FWD Group's deals and repay debt.

"The motivation behind FWD's active debt offerings is likely to fund its acquisitions," said Steven Lam, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

The dollar bond binge comes as the younger son of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing makes a big bet on South-east Asia. FWD Group paid US$3 billion for a life insurance business in Thailand in July and signed a US$1.8 billion loan backing the acquisition. It also previously considered Aviva plc's Singapore business.

BLOOMBERG

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