HONG KONG State-owned People's Insurance Company of China Group (PICC), one of the country's largest insurers, plans to raise $5 billion to $6 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai, IFR reported citing two sources with knowledge of the plans.
China International Capital Corp (CICC), HSBC (0005.HK) and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX were hired to handle the deal, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. More banks are expected to be added to the roster later, IFR said.
PICC's offering comes amid an expected flurry of activity in the financial services industry over the coming months as companies look to raise funds to bolster their balance sheets.
Around $25 billion in share offerings in Hong Kong and China could come to the market over the next 12 months from insurers alone, Credit Suisse estimated in a report last week.
PICC, the parent of China's largest property insurer PICC Property & Casualty Co (2328.HK), had submitted an IPO application to the State Council in May, the China Securities Journal reported on Friday.
The company started roadshows around the world to look for strategic investors in the offering.
Major Chinese financial groups eyeing a Hong Kong listing this year include Citic Securities (600030.SS), Haitong Securities (600837.SS), China Everbright Bank (601818.SS) and New China Life.
"The market is not as good as last year. Whether or not these big financial IPOs can be completed this year depends on market conditions in the second half," said Chen Xingyu, financial analyst at PhillipSecuritiesin Shanghai.
For PICC and New China Life, it also depends on the insurance industry's profit outlook.
"The earnings outlook for the insurance industry is pretty good for this year," he said.
Chinese insurance firms saw their total profits rise 72.3 percent to a collective 49 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) in the first half of the year from the same period last year, data from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission showed.
($1 = 6.463 Chinese Yuan)
(Reporting by Fiona Lau and Soo Ai Peng in Shanghai, Writing by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Vinu Pilakkott)