AIA to close IPO books early as investors jump to buy the shares

THE PLANNED Hong Kong initial public offering of AIA, the Asian life insurance business of American International Group (AIG), is set to close two days earlier than anticipated after institutional investors rushed to pledge their interest in buying the shares, it emerged yesterday.

AIA has indicated that it will price the IPO later this week within a range of HK$18.38 (£1.49) and HK$19.68 per share, raising up to $15bn (£9.43bn) as a base scenario before the option to release more shares is exercised. If that happens, the firm could raise up to $20.6bn in the world’s third-biggest ever IPO, leaving its American parent with a stake of just 32.9 per cent.

AIA is understood to have easily covered the share sale at the top of the range after a two-week roadshow with investors, prompting plans to close its books today rather than Thursday.

Among those investors lapping up the offer are thought to be $300bn Chinese state sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp and corporates such as China Life Insurance.

AIA yesterday also began its retail offering, marketing the shares to the public prior to the stock market debut.