ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co., Ltd. (“ZhongAn Online” or “ZhongAn” or the “Company”, HKEx: 6060), a leading online InsureTech company in China, today announced the successful pricing of its US$600 million 5-year 3.125% senior unsecured notes (the “Notes”) on July 9, 2020, which are expected to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners of this issuance are J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, China International Capital Corporation and Morgan Stanley.
This marks ZhongAn’s inaugural public bond issuance in the offshore capital markets. Moody’s Investors Service, a leading international credit rating agency, has assigned a Baa1 insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) to the Company with Stable outlook, and a Baa2 rating to the Notes. Moody’s noted in its rating report that, ZhongAn’s Baa1 IFSR reflects its market presence as the leader in China’s online insurance sector, its strong capitalization, improved product diversification, and low high-risk asset leverage. With stable outlook, Moody’s expects that ZhongAn will continue to maintain strong capitalization and gradually improve its underwriting profitability. Such rating of the Notes does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold the Notes, does not address the likelihood or timing of prepayment and may be subject to revision, qualification, suspension or withdrawal at any time by Moody’s.
The issuance garnered significant interest from international investors. With an oversubscription exceeding 6 times at orderbook peak, the final price was 285 basis points above the on-the-run 5-year U.S. Treasury bond, tightening by 45 basis points from initial price guidance. In addition, the financing scale of US$600 million is the largest debut USD bond offering by Asian corporates in 2020YTD, and also ranks No. 1 in global InsureTech debt financing. This demonstrates the confidence the capital markets investors have in ZhongAn’s competitive strengths, business model and growth prospects.
Net proceeds from the issuance is intended to be used by the Company for working capital and general corporate purposes. In embracing the “Insurance + Technology” dual engine strategy, ZhongAn will continue to explore numerous application scenarios and capitalize on the vast growth potential of the InsureTech market. Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, insurance technology has played a significant role in the digital transformation of health insurance and the entire insurance industry. This trend is in line with ZhongAn’s plans for strategic development. Recently, ZhongAn announced a positive profit alert and expected net profit attributable to owners of the Company of the first half of 2020 (the “Period”) to increase by no less than 100%. During the Period, the Company’s gross written premiums increased steadily and combined ratio further improved, thus narrowing underwriting loss. This demonstrates the great efforts of the Company to further improve its financial performance.
With the issue of the Notes, ZhongAn believes it will better finance its business development initiatives, while optimizing its capital structure and enhancing international credibility. ZhongAn also believes that its access to diversified financing channels in the future will help sustain the Company’s stable and long-term growth. In addition, the Company believes that the successful notes issue is a positive sign for ZhongAn to strengthen its brand recognition and further expand its international footprint.