Mercuries shares rise more than 24 percent on debut

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 - Page 14

Mercuries Life Insurance Co (三商美邦人壽保險) yesterday saw its shares rise by almost one-fourth on its debut on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, far outpacing other financial stocks.

Shares rose 24.68 percent, or NT$3.9, to close at NT$19.7 on the local bourse from its listing price of NT$15.8, outperforming the benchmark index’s 0.16 percent rise and the financial sub-index’s 0.38 percent increase, stock exchange data showed.

The unit of Mercuries Group (三商企業), which invests in securities brokerages, asset management, retailing, food distribution and multimedia ventures, became the first life insurer to list on the main bourse in 15 years.

Mercuries Life president and chief executive officer Roy Meng (孟嘉仁) yesterday said on the sideline of the company’s debut ceremony that the firm will continue looking for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to expand its business.

“We plan to expand to the banking and insurance brokerage sectors through M&As,” the local cable TV network UBN quoted Meng as saying.

Meng said the insurer also planned to hire 1,000 people with sales expertise next year in a bid to boost its market share and profitability.

The insurer posted NT$2.26 billion (US$77.66 million) in net profit for the first three quarters of the year, or earnings of NT$2.09 per share, up 26 percent from last year, company data showed.

Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said the life insurer may see its negative spread narrow continuously in the near future following the insurer increasing its overseas investment.