December 7, 2012 / 1:26 AM / 5 years ago

China insurer PICC Group gains on debut after $3.1 bln IPO

HONG KONG, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Shares in PICC Group opened 3.2 percent higher on their Hong Kong debut on Friday, after the Chinese state-owned insurer priced its $3.1 billion IPO near the bottom of an indicative range last week.

People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China, as the company is formally called, priced the biggest initial public offering in Hong Kong in two years at HK$3.48 per share, after marketing the deal in a range of HK$3.42-HK$4.03.

By 0121 GMT, PICC Group was trading at HK$3.59. The benchmark Hang Seng index gained 0.2 percent.

The IPO was the biggest in Hong Kong since the $20.5 billion listing of AIA Group Ltd in October 2010. The deal is also the largest in Asia excluding Japan since plantation company Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s $3.3 billion offering in June 2012.

PICC Group hired a record number of underwriters and secured $1.82 billion in commitments from cornerstone investors to help ensure a smooth IPO.

China International Capital Corp (CICC), Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and HSBC Holdings Plc acted as sponsors of the IPO.

The record 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 Alex Richardson)

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