Carlyle-Backed China Pacific Readies HK IPO

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd (601601.SS), the country’s third-largest life insurer and partly owned by the Carlyle Group, is set to relaunch its Hong Kong IPO, according to sources, after its first attempt failed last year when markets plunged.

The insurer, which tried to raise around 30 billion yuan ($4.39 billion) from the Hong Kong market last year, has been in early discussions with several investment banks for a new Hong Kong IPO proposal, said the sources close to the situation.

The new IPO plan was aimed at excluding a minimum listing price condition that had previously been required, said sources who declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media before an official announcement is made.

Shanghai-headquartered China Pacific and Washington D.C.-based Carlyle both declined to comment.

U.S. private equity giant Carlyle [CYL.UL] holds around 17 percent of China Pacific, which is already listed in Shanghai.

The sources said Carlyle supported China Pacific’s new IPO plan as it aimed to sell part of its stake after China Pacific lists in Hong Kong.

Board members, including Carlyle representatives, have been invited to an internal meeting in Shanghai next month, when they are expected to approve the new IPO plan, they said.

China Pacific had pledged not to list shares in Hong Kong at a value below its December 2007 Shanghai IPO of 30 yuan per share, priced during the market’s bullrun.

Shanghai-listed shares of China Pacific stood at 27.64 yuan by Wednesday’s close, up 1.69 percent. ($1=6.831 Yuan)

By George Chen and Michael Flaherty
(Edited by Chris Lewis)