FWD to buy majority stake in M’sian life insurer pre-IPO
PETALING JAYA: FWD Group Holdings Ltd, the pan-Asian insurance company owned by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Gibraltar BSN Life Bhd, a move that allows it to tap into the South-East Asian market’s growth potential ahead of FWD’s planned initial public offering (IPO).
FWD, along with a group of investors, will buy a 70% stake in Gibraltar BSN from a subsidiary of New York-listed Prudential Financial Inc, according to a statement.
The transaction will allow FWD to make a foray into the Malaysian life insurance market. Bank Simpanan Nasional Bhd will continue to hold the remaining 30%.
Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed. FWD plans to partner with Bank Simpanan to further develop and grow Gibraltar BSN.
FWD entered Malaysia in 2019 as a provider of takaful products. Malaysia is the fourth-largest life insurance market by premium in South-East Asia, according to the statement.
“We’re creating a full-service offering in Malaysia and will be able to offer both family takaful and life insurance solutions in a rapidly growing market with huge long-term potential for growth,” Huynh Thanh Phong, group chief executive officer and executive director of FWD, said in the statement.
The move in Malaysia follows FWD’s long-term strategy to expand across South-East Asia. It continues to work towards an IPO in Hong Kong this year, Bloomberg News had reported. — Bloomberg