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Chinese online insurer ZhongAn files for up to $1.5 bln HK IPO-IFR

HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) - ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first internet-only insurer, has filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong worth up to $1.5 billion, IFR reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the plans.

The filing sets the deal in motion, with an expected listing slated for as early as the end of 2017, added IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

ZhongAn declined to comment on its IPO plans.

ZhongAn, whose major shareholders include Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group’s affiliate Ant Financial, had been weighing an IPO in Hong Kong or in China.

But uncertainty over a timely approval for a listing in mainland markets prompted the company to focus on a Hong Kong deal instead, a person familiar with ZhongAn’s plans previously told Reuters. (Reporting by Fiona Lau of IFR, Writing by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Himani Sarkar)