China Insurer PICC Cuts Size of IPO in Response to Collapse in Market Prices

The People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China Ltd., the nation’s largest property insurer, cut the size of a planned first-time domestic share sale and indicated it will proceed when the market improves.

The company will offer a maximum of 1.8 billion A-shares, less than the 2.3 billion earlier approved by the Chinese securities regulator, the company told Hong Kong’s stock exchange on Monday.

PICC will proceed at the “optimal time in light of market conditions,” according to the statement.

Stock markets in China have had a horrible year with more than $3 trillion wiped out since January, all of France’s stock market capitalization and then some. The Shanghai Composite Index is down about 30 percent since this year’s high to its lowest since 2014. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index isn’t far behind, with a 23 percent retreat.

Selling 1.8 billion shares would raise about $863 million, based on the firm’s last closing price in Hong Kong. That would make it the third-biggest first-time offering in China this year, behind Foxconn Industrial Internet Co. and Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission approved the firm to sell A shares last month.

PICC has been pushing for higher margins at its life insurance unit as overall premium-growth slows amid regulatory reforms in both the life and property and casualty sectors, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam said earlier this month.

Like Ping An Insurance Group Co., PICC is using AI and big data to recommend insurance products and provide health management to individual customers.