Prudential Said to File for Potential $700 Million Malaysia IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Prudential Plc has filed for a potential listing of its Malaysian unit as the insurer explores options to reduce its stake in the business, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The U.K. insurer submitted an application for an initial public offering of its local subsidiary with the Malaysian securities regulator last month, according to the people. A share sale could raise about $700 million, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Prudential hasn’t decided whether to proceed with the listing, and it’s still considering other alternatives like finding a buyer for a minority stake in the business, the people said.

Malaysia’s central bank has been urging foreign insurers to reduce their holdings in local firms to no more than 70 percent as it more strictly enforces ownership limits. The regulator earlier gave overseas firms until June 30 to cut their holdings, people familiar with the matter said last year. Singapore’s Great Eastern Holdings Ltd. and Japan’s Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. were also among those weighing deals to reduce local stakes, the people said.

There’s no certainty Prudential’s deliberations will lead to any transaction, according to the people. Prudential could wait until the new central bank governor takes office before deciding whether to proceed, one of the people said.

Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, who was appointed to the post last week, begins her five-year term July 1. She replaced Muhammad Ibrahim, who resigned this month after questions were raised about Bank Negara Malaysia’s role in a deal linked to scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB.

Prudential said in an emailed statement it abides by the local rules in the markets where it operates, and the company is “firmly committed” to serving the long-term protection and savings needs of the Malaysian people. It declined to comment on any IPO plans.

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