HONG KONG: The upcoming Hong Kong listing of American International Group Inc.'s Asian unit is expected to raise $14.1 billion for AIG's repayment of bailout funds from the U.S. government during the global financial crisis, the Asian insurer said on Sunday. AIA Group Ltd. said in a prospectus it plans to sell 586 million shares in Hong Kong and 5.27 billion shares internationally at a price range of HK$18.38 (US$2.40) to HK$19.68 ($2.50) per share. The estimated proceeds from the share sale are based on the midpoint price of HK$19.03 ($2.45) per share and deducts projected underwriting fees and other expenses.
Some $190 billion has not been repaid from the massive Wall Street bailouts launched during President George W. Bush's final months in office. AIG, which suffered from investments in complex derivatives instead of its traditional businesses, received $182 billion _ the biggest rescue package extended to the financial industry. Officials believed its survival was crucial because AIG worked with hundreds of financial institutions around the world. The $14.1 billion will be used to repay an initial pool of $20 billion AIG received from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, AIA said. AIG is also repaying other sums it owes the U.S. government by letting the U.S. Treasury exchange its majority stake in the company for common stock and sell those shares over time.
AIA says institutional investors have pledged to buy $1.92 billion in shares. Major investors include the Kuwait Investment Authority ($1 billion), the Malaysian government employee pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan ($200 million) and Malaysia's Hong Leong Financial Group Berhad, which is investing $370 million and $50 million through two units. Hong Kong tycoons Cheng Yu-tung and Peter Woo have also signed on. Cheng is buying $388 million in shares through an investment holding company and the same amount through his company NWS Financial Management Services Ltd. Woo pledged $200 million through Lorita Investments Ltd.
Retail investors in Hong Kong can start applying for shares Monday and trading will start Oct. 29. AIA, which operates in 15 Asian territories, said it recorded an interim operating profit of $1.134 billion this fiscal year and is expected to post a full-year operating profit of no less than $2 billion. It reported an operating profit of $1.781 billion last year. The insurer said it plans to expand by targeting India and China, where it's the largest foreign life insurer by premiums, and moving into Islamic finance in Malaysia and Indonesia.
NEW YORK: Continuing his tirade against the just-concluded Commonwealth Games , former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said India should have focused on improving the plight of its poor instead of spending thousands of crores on the event which only "denigrated" its image. "Tell me if your stadium is empty why not invite the children of those labourers who built the stadium to come in and sit down," Aiyar, the most vocal critic of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, said. "But no, this was a middle class party." "So only PLUs (people like us) were given the opportunity of coming in and they didn't come in adequate numbers," the Congress MP said, noting that 960 croresspent on renovating the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium could have been put to better use.
Aiyar also claimed that no single event had done more damage to India's image in the past 63 years since independence than the recent Commonwealth Games. "I don't think the world has ever denigrated us and in such obscene language as we have seen happening in the past few weeks," he said. "70,000 crores to get ourselves a bad name," the former minister said, referring to the total amount spent on the 12-day mega sporting event. On whether the Games were a success as declared by the Indian government , Aiyar claimed that the event had failed to position India as a top player on the
global stage. "I'm not sure we've attained the objective we had of projecting ourselves as a great rising economic power to the Western world or even to Africa," he said.