Samsung Life’s record IPO raises $4.4bn

INSURER Samsung Life achieved South Korea’s largest-ever initial public offering (IPO) on Friday, raising $4.4bn (£2.9bn) with a placing priced near the top end of the range.

Keen appetite among foreign investors meant the 4.4m-share offer was heavily oversubscribed. With a total market capitalisation of Won22tr (£13bn) Samsung Life becomes the sixth-largest company on the Seoul stockmarket. Its IPO eclipses the flotation of Korean retailer Lotte Shopping in 2006 and is the second-largest raising in Asia this year, after Dai-ichi Life Insurance of Japan’s $11bn listing.

South Korean life insurers were allowed to become publicly traded companies in 2007 after years of wrangling over how to share IPO proceeds between shareholders and policyholders. Samsung is the third life insurer in the country to list, following Tong Yang Life Insurance in September and Korea Life. Overseas fund managers have been attracted by the industry’s five per cent forecast growth rate this year.

Samsung Life’s shares go live on the Korea exchange on 12 May.