Ironshore: No pressure for an IPO
A massive Chinese investment firm could open an office in Bermuda.
The news came as Fosun International cemented a deal to become Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore’s biggest shareholder.
Ironshore chief operating officer Mitch Blaser said: “We will work with the Fosun Group to see if there are opportunities for them to come into Bermuda that we could sponsor.
“We’re already talking to them about different synergies and where we can help them where we have a stronger presence, like Bermuda, the US and London.”
Mr Blaser was speaking as top executives from Fosun visited Bermuda in the wake of the deal, which saw the firm, the largest privately-held Chinese conglomerate, earlier this month take a 20 per cent stake in Ironshore.
He said: “I can’t tell you an office is opening next week, but one of the great things about Fosun is they are opportunistic, nimble and have a great strategy for building things long term.”
Billionaire Fosun chairman Guo Guangchang is regarded as China’s version of US investment guru Warren Buffett by publications such as the Financial Times and is one of the richest people in booming China.
His firm has recently bought up major buildings in the US, Tokyo and London.
Fosun has already established a comprehensive insurance platform covering property and casualty, life insurance, reinsurance and speciality insurance.
Mr Blaser said that a delayed initial public offering (IPO) by Ironshore was still on the back burner.
He added: “It’s certainly an option — we will be looking at that along with all possible strategic options including what we decide to do with Fosun longer-term.”
But he said: “We don’t have a time pressure for an IPO, we don’t have a time pressure to do anything with the deal with Fosun.”
And he explained that the deal had given Ironshore “a very positive and high valuation”.
He said: “They bought a majority interest at a very strong value.”
Mr Blaser added the deal not only opened up new markets for Fosun, but gave Ironshore access to the firm’s expertise in Asia.
He said: “We always look for opportunities to expand based on the business opportunities.
“Fosun are very strategic in their approach to their investments. They believe in a long-term relationship and provide a strong capital base to help companies grow in the future.”
And he explained that gave Ironshore space “to be able to think about things in the long-term perspective”.
Mr Blaser added: “That’s a very important part of it for us — they will be our largest shareholder effective now and opens up a gateway to Asia for Ironshore.
“We have access to business relationships, capital and other potential growth opportunities that are very unique.
“We wouldn’t have these opportunities if we were operating out of Bermuda and the US on our own.
“What Fosun are really strong at is value investing and that’s what they’re great at.”
When the deal was announced, Hong Kong-listed Fosun bought 20 per cent of Ironshore’s shares.
Ironshore said it would use all of the proceeds from the share issuance to fund repurchases of outstanding equity from existing equity holders, including long-term private equity shareholders.
The buy-up means that Fosun will become the largest shareholder in the Bermuda firm.
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