Ant Group files for HK-Shanghai IPO; first-half profit rises 1,000%

Topics Alipay | Jack Ma | Alibaba

The financial technology powerhouse reported profit of 21.9 billion Chinese yuan ($3.2 billion) on total revenues of 72.5 billion yuan in the first half of the year, according to the exchange filing
Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai to bankroll its expansion in financial services and bolster its lead as China’s large­st online payments platform.

The company will issue no less than 10 per cent in new shares of its total capital, according to its filing with the Shanghai excha­nge. 

The financial technology powerhouse reported profit of 21.9 billion Chinese yuan ($3.2 billion) on total revenues of 72.5 billion yuan in the first half of the year, according to the exchange filing.  That represented a more than 1,000 per cent jump in profits from the same period a year ago, when the company raked in 1.9 billion yuan.  Revenues were also up significantly, climbing about 38 per cent from the 52.5 billion yuan the firm made in the first half of 2019. The simultaneous listing could mark one of the biggest debuts in years, and even top Saudi Aramco’s record $29 billion IPO, a person familiar has said. 

The firm is targeting a valuation of about $225 billion, based on an IPO of about $30 billion if markets are favourable, people familiar with the matter have said.  

The company will use the proceeds to expand cross-border payments and enhance its research and development capabilities, according to the filing, which didn’t provide a share price range or the amount it intends to raise in the IPO.

Unlike Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Ant decided against listing in the US at a time of increased scrutiny by the Trump administration of Chinese companies and warnings to US endowment funds to offload their stakes in US-listed Chinese businesses. Ant’s Shanghai listing marks a victory for the city’s exchange, and is part of an effort by China to establish its own capital markets as tensions with the US escalate.

Alibaba is Ant’s largest shareholder, with a 33 per centstake. Hangzhou Junao, an entity that is owned by key Ant and Alibaba executives, owns 20.66 per cent, while Hangzhou Junhan, which holds shares on behalf of Ant employees, owns a 29.86 per cent stake. Ant picked China International Capital Corp., Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley for its Hong Kong offering. 

Credit Suisse was hired as a joint global coordinator for the Hong Kong deal, according to people familiar. Representatives for Ant and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

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