ING Life Insurance Korea, the nation’s fifth largest life insurer, will go public on May 11 in what could be one of the biggest local initial public offerings (IPO) this year at 1.34 trillion won ($1.2 billion).
Cheong Moon-guk, chief executive officer of the life insurer, revised the date for the company’s initial public offering (IPO) to May 11 from May 8, which was reported to the Financial Supervisory Service in March, during a press conference held to announce the company`s IPO outline on Wednesday.
The company will offer 40.9 percent stake to the market in 33.5 million existing shares. Of the offering, 6.7 million shares will be made available to the public on April 27-28 after book-building until April 21. The desired pricing band is set at 31,500 won to 40,000 won, or 1.05 trillion won to 1.34 trillion won in total.
Samsung Securities, Mirae Asset Daewoo Securities and KB Securities are underwriters.
ING Life will become the fifth life insurer and the first company owned by a private equity fund to be listed on Korea’s main Kospi market. The firm is wholly owned by MBK Partners LP who bought a full stake in the company from Dutch ING Group at 1.84 trillion won in December 2013. MBK Partners chose to redeem a part of its investment through IPO after failing to sell ING Life last year because the interested Chinese companies pulled out over tensions caused by Korea’s decision to deploy the U.S. anti-missile system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
Cheong said ING Life stands out against its peers in terms of strong financial health, generous dividend payout and capability to adjust to stricter regulations.
“ING Life has the highest risk-based capital (RBC) of 319 percent among the top 10 domestic life insurers,” Cheong said. “We are managing a stable asset portfolio with the share of safe assets such as the government bonds reaching 97 percent, much higher than that of four listed rivals with 67 percent on average.”
He added that ING Life is the only life insurer in the country who has increased dividend payments over the last three years. “Our dividend payout ratio increased from 45 percent in 2014 to 58 percent at the end of last year and the dividends per share also rose 66 percent from 1,226 won to 2,037 won over the same period,” he said.
The company’s dividend rate by market value would reach about 5.7 percent based on estimation by the median value of the desired pricing band, compared with 1 percent to 2 percent of the four other listed insurers, claimed ING Life head.
By Jung Woo-sung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]