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Zhong An soars 10% on debut

ZHONG An Online Property & Casualty Co, China’s first online insurer, yesterday jumped nearly 10 percent on its first trading day on the Hong Kong stock exchange, valuing the company’s capitalization at nearly HK$100 billion (US$12.8 billion).

The insurer closed at HK$65.20 per share, up from its offering price of HK$59.70. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dipped 0.8 percent.

Demand from retail investors accounted for nearly 400 times the number of shares on offer in the IPO, Zhong An said in a securities filing.

Francis Tang, chief financial officer of Zhong An, said the over-subscription and first-day trading showed the market and long-term investors have recognized the market value of the insurer.

Zhong An sold 199.3 million new shares and raised HK$11.5 billion from the IPO, which is Asia’s largest by a financial technology company.

Zhong An’s gross premium income totaled 3 billion yuan (US$451 million) in the first seven months of this year, close to the full-year premium income of 3.4 billion yuan in 2016.

UBS expects Zhong An to lose 174 million yuan this year but to reap a 704 million yuan profit next year.

Zhong An was set up in 2013 by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent Chairman Pony Ma, and Ping An Insurance Chairman Peter Ma to sell insurance online and develop insurance technology.

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