Ironshore Inc., the insurer purchased by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd last year, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US after a ratings firm cited concerns about the parent firm’s financial capability.
Underwriters include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, JP Morgan, and UBS. The company reported earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $1.65 billion (£1.25 billion) in 2015.
Founded in December 2006, Bermuda-based Ironshore has grown in part via international expansion and acquisitions. According to its filing, gross premiums increased from $383 million in 2008 to $2.16 billion last year.
An initial offering amount of $100 million was filed by the company which was used to evaluate fees that will change. The filing shows that Fosun will benefit from all the proceeds from the offering.
A review of Ironshore was announced by ratings firm A.M. Best in December and in June assigned a negative outlook on the company because of “the drag related to the credit profile and high debt leverage measures of Ironshore’s ultimate parent.” In the point of view of insurance companies, downgrades can make it harder to win customers.
“Ratings are an important factor in the competitive position of insurance companies, and a downgrade of our financial strength ratings or a negative watch/outlook could severely limit or prevent us from writing new and renewal insurance policies,” the company said in the 22nd of July filing.
The insurer indicated that it will manage the business to keep its rating. Furthermore, the insurer offers specialty commercial coverage, giving protection to policyholders against environment and political risks and offering liability coverage to corporate executives and healthcare providers.
Ironshore said in March that an IPO was under consideration. Two months ago, Fosun International Ltd said an application was submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange seeking support for a spinoff and separate listing of Ironshore.
In early 2015, a 20% stake was bought by Fosun in Ironshore for about $463.8 million and acquired the remaining 80% later in the year for about $1.8 billion.
Fosun Group, which is run by chairman and co-founder Guo Guangchang, has operations ranging from mining to real estate. The group bought Michigan-based Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc. for about $433 million (£332 million) last year.
Fosun said in June that it willingly informed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) about the Ironshore deal. Ironshore, on the other hand, said in the filing that it expects final results of the CFIUS review before its registration statement becomes effective.
Ironshore filed to offer up to $100 million of stock in the IPO but that is a placeholder amount likely to change. The joint book-running managers are Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and UBS.