Wednesday, September 23, 2020
 
Columnist
Martin Hennecke

Listing hearings on way as Ant speeds up US$30b IPO
 
17/09/2020
 
Ant Group is seeking to pass the listing hearing of the Hong Kong stock exchange next week and plans to open its retail book after China's National Day holidays (Golden Week) . The parent of the dominant Chinese e-payment platform Alipay is reportedly looking to raise about a record US$30 billion (HK$234 billion) in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Ant is seeking listing approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange tomorrow. It is expected to sell around 11 to 12 percent of share capital in Hong Kong, including some secondary shares, Reuters IFR reported, citing people close to the deal. That means Ant may issue more shares in Hong Kong than Shanghai. The report said Ant is set to begin pre-marketing during the week of September 28 and will launch the joint IPO after China's National Holiday from October 1 to October 7. It is expected to go public at the end of October. Ant could be valued at more than US$250 billion as initial feedback from investors has been very positive, according to the report. Meanwhile, Ant has told at least seven brokerages that it wants technology analysts to provide research coverage of its stock, Bloomberg reported. Several analysts who spoke directly with Ant investor relations staff saw the request as a sign that the company will continue to emphasize being a technology provider rather than a financial services firm, and that Ant's preference is to have tech analysts lead coverage of the stock. Meanwhile, six firms are opening retail books this week, driving up demand for the Hong Kong dollar. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority yesterday sold HK$1.55 billion into the market after the local currency toughed the strong end of its trading band, the third time this week. ZTO Express (Cayman), the Chinese express delivery giant, launches a Hong Kong secondary listing today to raise as much as HK$12 billion. The minimum investment is HK$13,535 per board lot of 50 shares. The New York-listed company will offer 45 million shares at no higher than HK$268 apiece, representing a 10 percent premium against its Tuesday's closing price. ZTO will be the fifth Hong Kong stock with a dual share structure. Another US-listed Chinese company, Huazhu Group, is said to price its IPO at HK$297 apiece - a 2.1 percent discount of Tuesday's closing price in New York and 19 percent lower than the maximum offer price. Separately, Neusoft Education Technology, a mainland private higher education IT service provider, kicked off public sales today to raise up to HK$1 billion.

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