* PICC Group shares gain as much as 6.3 pct in grey market
* Retail investor demand driving up shares of Chinese
(Adds details of the IPO, comments)
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, Dec 6 PICC Group gained as
much as 6.3 percent in grey market trading on Thursday,
signalling expectations that the Chinese state-owned insurer
will climb in its official debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange
The shares were bolstered by individual investors looking to
buy into the insurer, after many were left out of the deal last
week, analysts said. PICC Group priced its $3.1 billion IPO near
the bottom of an indicative range, also leaving some room for
gains in the debut.
"Retail investors seem to be really interested in PICC,"
said Jasper Chan, corporate finance officer at Phillip
Securities in Hong Kong.
Demand from retail investors for the PICC Group IPO was 17.5
times larger than the number of shares offered, the insurance
company said in a securities filing on Thursday. Institutional
demand, excluding orders from cornerstone investors, was
equivalent to three times the amount of stock on offer, Thomson
Reuters publication IFR reported.
Shares in People's Insurance Company (Group) of China
(PICC), as the company is formally called, changed hands at
HK$3.64, up from the IPO price of HK$3.48, according to
PhillipMart, the pre-market trading platform of Phillip
Securities in Hong Kong. The stock traded at HK$3.7, up 6.3
percent, at the Bright Smart Securities pre-IPO platform.
Grey market prices are quoted by brokerages ahead of a
security being officially traded on an exchange.
PICC Group priced the IPO near the bottom of an indicative
range of HK$3.42 to HK$4.03 per share last week.
The company hired a record number of underwriters and
secured $1.82 billion in commitments from cornerstone investors
to help ensure its IPO would get done without delays.
China International Capital Corp (CICC), Credit Suisse Group
AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and HSBC Holdings
Plc acted as sponsors of the IPO.
The list of 17 banks helping to underwrite the deal also
included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley
and UBS AG, as well Chinese firms such as ABC
International and BOC International.
(Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Chris Gallagher and