March 9, 2020 / 8:47 PM / 20 days ago

EXCLUSIVE-Brazil's Caixa Seguridade cancels pre-IPO investor meetings -sources

(Adds country and industry background, market details)

By Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, March 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian insurer Caixa Seguridade SA canceled meetings with investors scheduled for this week ahead of a planned initial public offering, signaling a potential delay in the highly anticipated IPO, two sources with knowledge of the matter said, amid concern about the new coronavirus and plunging oil prices.

Controlling shareholder state bank Caixa Economica Federal had been planning to list the insurer in April but it is no longer clear whether that timetable can be maintained, both sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are not public yet.

The Caixa Seguridade IPO had been expected to raise more than 10 billion reais ($2.12 billion), making it the biggest expected Brazilian share offering for 2020. Caixa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The setback may dampen bankers’ hopes for a record year for IPOs and follow-ons. The expectation that more domestic investors could invest in stocks amid Brazil’s lowest interest rates on record and a more robust economic growth outlook had led a series of companies to test the markets.

Homebuilders, banks, parking lot operators and retailers are among the 25 companies that have filed for IPOs with Brazil’s securities regulator this year.

A potential delay to the Caixa Seguridade IPO could also represent a blow to the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which had hoped to raise billions of dollars this year through a series of state asset sales which may now fetch a lower price due to the recent market rout. ($1 = 4.7247 reais) (Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo Editing by Christian Plumb and Matthew Lewis)

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