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Insurer PICC plans A-share listing

By Hu Yuanyuan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-27 10:13

People's Insurance Company (Group) of China, one of the country's largest insurers, has submitted an application to the industry's regulator to list A shares in Shanghai, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"We're waiting for feedback from the China Securities Regulatory Commission," said Sheng Hetai, assistant to the president of PICC Group.

"But even if there isn't a window of opportunity for a listing at home, the money we have now is enough to fuel the development of our subsidiaries in the coming years," Sheng said.

PICC Group went public in Hong Kong on Dec 7, and raised about HK$24 billion ($3.09 billion), in the city's biggest IPO last year. The company's shares rose 6.9 percent to HK$3.72 on the first trading day.

Last month, Wu Yan, chairman of PICC Group, said that the company was considering a listing in Shanghai.

"With the recovery of China's economy, the A-share market will get back on a growth track, and we'll seek an appropriate opportunity to launch an IPO in Shanghai," Wu said.

The company posted a 31.8 percent increase in its 2012 net profit attributed to shareholders to 6.83 billion yuan ($1.08 billion), it said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange late on Monday. Its consolidated net profit rose 28.5 percent to 10.14 billion yuan.

The market share of its property and casualty insurance unit was 34.9 percent, and life insurance unit, 6.4 percent, with their premium income reaching 193 billion yuan and 77.9 billion yuan.

The group's return on investment, or ROI, stood at 4.2 percent, 80 basis points higher than the industry's average.

"We'll increase our investment in fixed-income assets, while taking advantage of stock market fluctuations to improve our investments in equity assets," said Sheng. "And we'll also boost our investments into private equity projects."

Meanwhile, PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd said its net profit grew 29.63 percent to 10.4 billion yuan in 2012, thanks to better operational-cost management and return on investment.

The non-life insurer's ROI was 3.7 percent for 2012, also higher than the industry's average.

Between 2012 and 2020, China, India and Indonesia will be the fastest-growing countries in the property and casualty insurance sectors, with an average growth above 12 percent in China and India, and almost 10 percent in Indonesia, Michael Menhart, Munich Re's chief economist, said in a recent study.

In emerging Asian economies, property and casualty primary insurance premiums currently grow at an average of 11 percent annually, twice as high as the second-placed region, Eastern Europe, according to the Munich Re study.

huyuanyuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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