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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Insurer set to trade in Shanghai and HK

(Shanghai Daily)

10:02, December 07, 2011

New China Life Insurance, the country's third largest insurer, will start trading in Shanghai and Hong Kong next week, and the company will explore overseas investment opportunities after the listing, its top executives said yesterday.

The state-owned insurer, 15 percent owned by Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services, is selling 158.8 million shares in a Shanghai initial public offering on December 16 and up to 358.4 million shares in Hong Kong on December 15, with an option to expand the Hong Kong offering by 15 percent.

It planned to raise as much as US$2.3 billion from the two markets to replenish its capital which has fallen below the regulator's requirement on capital adequacy for three straight years.

The A shares in Shanghai will be traded at between 23 yuan and 28 yuan (US$3.61 and US$4.4), and the shares in Hong Kong will be traded at HK$28.2 to HK$34.33 (US$3.63 to US$4.42). The prices are lower than analysts' expectations and that set by the insurer's underwriter.

But He Zhiguang, the insurer's president, said yesterday during an online road show that the range was lower than the average of counterparts and reflected the company's value and long-term interest of investors.

Individual investors can subscribe for A shares online from today, and the final A-share prices will be decided on Friday.

It is the first IPO of Chinese insurers in four years, and Dong Le, an analyst with Haitong Securities, said that price range is reasonable and expected the insurer's share prices to fluctuate between 25.8 yuan and 32.9 yuan in the short term.

Li Quan, president of the insurer's investment arm, said: "As solvency improves, we will expand overseas investment prudently."

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