Chinese online insurer Zhong An plans $2 billion mainland IPO in 2016: IFR

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese Internet insurer Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance plans an up-to-$2 billion initial public offering in mainland China in 2016, IFR reported on Friday, citing people close to the deal.

At $2 billion, the deal would be the largest-ever technology-related listing in mainland China and the biggest IPO since brokerage Guotai Junan Securities Co raised $4.8 billion last June, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Zhong An, China’s first online-only insurer, has invited banks to pitch for IPO roles, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. The firm was founded in 2013 by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Executive Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings Ltd Chairman Pony Ma and Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd Chairman Ma Mingzhe.

Zhong An joins a series of financial technology firms planning a listing this year, according to IFR, including online lending platform Lufax and Alibaba’s Internet finance affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.

A spokeswoman for Zhong An in Shanghai declined to comment on the listing plan, previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Zhong An raised $931 million last year from a group of investors including Morgan Stanley, China’s top domestic investment bank China International Capital Corp (CICC) and private equity firm CDH Investments. The deal valued Zhong An at $8 billion.

Reporting by Fiona Lau of IFR; Additional reporting by David Lin in SHANGHAI; Writing by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell