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Genworth defers mortgage insurance unit’s IPO due to volatile trading – Kitco NEWS

(Reuters) -Insurer Genworth Financal Inc said on Thursday it had deferred the initial public offering of its mortgage insurance unit, Enact Holdings, citing significant trading volatility in the sector.

“Genworth’s Board of Directors determined that current market pricing for the planned offering does not accurately reflect Enact’s value,” Genworth Chief Executive Officer Tom McInerney, said.

McInerney said Genworth will continue to evaluate its options as market conditions develop.

The listing was proposed after a $2.7 billion buyout agreement between Genworth and billionaire Lu Zhiqiang’s investment firm, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co, fell through last month.

Talks for the deal, proposed in October 2016, lasted nearly five years before being scrapped, making it one of the world’s longest deal engagements. The transaction had been on the back burner due to concerns over Chinese access to sensitive data of U.S. citizens.

“We maintain our positive long-term outlook for the MI sector, given strong trends in the U.S. housing market and expected tailwinds as the economy recovers from COVID-19,” McInerney said.

Enact has seen demand for mortgage insurance soar, as low interest rates and strong underlying demographics have provided tailwinds to the overall housing market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IPO would have generated about $542 million at the top end of the range announced earlier for Genworth’s subsidiary Genworth Holdings that has full ownership of Enact, valuing the company at nearly $4 billion.

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based mortgage insurer was founded in 1981, and currently operates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The company provides credit protection to mortgage lenders and investors.

J.P. Morgan Securities and Goldman Sachs & Co were the lead underwriters for Enact’s proposed offering.

Reporting by Niket Nishant, Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Echo Wang in Miami; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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