Ironshore Inc. disclosed that China-based parent Fosun International Ltd. – which completed its acquisition just four months ago – is mulling an initial public offering for the Bermuda-based specialty insurer.
The March 22 announcement from Ironshore, which provides broker-sourced specialty property/casualty insurance coverage for varying risks, contains little details. Beyond the potential IPO of Ironshore ordinary shares, the insurer said that “no final statement has been made by the respective boards of directors of Ironshore and Fosun on whether, when or where to proceed with the possible offering.”
Standard & Poor’s noted in response to the Ironshore disclosure that it will keep its ratings for the insurer on CreditWatch with negative implications, where it has been since May 4, 2015.
“We continue to review the company following today’s announcement that its new parent Fosun International Ltd. is considering an initial public offering of Ironshore ordinary shares,” S&P said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor details of the transaction, new ownership structure, Ironshore’s future business strategy, capital management, investment strategy and regulatory approval process.”
Fosun International, the investment arm of Chinese mega-conglomerate Fosun Group, only concluded its acquisition of Ironshore in November. The deal was first announced last May – a $1.84 billion merger to snatch up the remaining 80 percent of Fosun it didn’t already own. Fosun bought a 20 percent stake in Ironshore in February 2015.
Fosun Group is a mega-conglomerate whose backer has used Warren Buffett as inspiration for his acquisition targets.
Last November, Fosun chairman Guo Guanchang had said that Fosun supported an autonomous existence for Ironshore.
At the time, A.M. Best in July put under review with negative implications Ironshore’s “A” (Excellent) financial strength rating, as well as its “a” issuer credit rating, reflecting concerns about Fosun’s post-merger credit profile and financial leverage and how that might affect Ironshore’s own capitalization.