Alibaba's Ant Group files for block buster HK, Shang­hai dual list­ing

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES / BOSS - HONG KONG -AFP

Ant Group, Alibaba's fin­tech arm and China's dom­i­nant mo­bile pay­ments firm, filed for a dual list­ing in Hong Kong and on Shang­hai's Nas­daq-style STAR Mar­ket on Tues­day and could raise as much as $30 bil­lion in what would be the world's largest IPO.

Ant's ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing would be the first si­mul­ta­ne­ous list­ing in Hong Kong and the yearold STAR Mar­ket, boost­ing Hong Kong's sta­tus as an in­ter­na­tional IPO mar­ket and help­ing en­hance STAR as a cap­i­tal mar­kets cen­tre.

Ant, al­ready the world's most valu­able uni­corn or bil­lion-dol­lar un­listed tech firm - did not dis­close the size, timetable or other key de­tails of the of­fer­ing in its pre­lim­i­nary prospec­tus. Ant de­clined to com­ment on its IPO de­tails.

Peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter have pre­vi­ously said Ant plans to raise more than $20 bil­lion from the dual-list­ing which could take place in Oc­to­ber, valu­ing the group at over $200 bil­lion.

The of­fer­ing size could even reach $30 bil­lion if mar­ket con­di­tions al­low, said three of the peo­ple this week. That would make it the world's big­gest IPO since oil gi­ant Saudi Aramco raised $29.4 bil­lion last De­cem­ber, which sur­passed the record set by China's ecom­merce gi­ant Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd's $25 bil­lion float in 2014.

Ant looks to sell be­tween 10% and 15% of its shares, one of the sources said, re­quest­ing anonymity as the de­tails were not yet pub­lic. Ant said in its fil­ing with the Shang­hai bourse that it plans to sell no less than 10% of its en­larged share cap­i­tal in the dual-list­ing.

The com­pany was valued at about $150 bil­lion in its last fund­ing round here in 2018, which brought in big­name in­vestors such as Te­masek Hold­ings Ltd [TEM.UL] and War­burg Pin­cus LLC. Ant plans to use the pro­ceeds raised to ex­pand its user base and cross-bor­der pay­ments as well as en­hanc­ing its re­search and de­vel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Ant's prospec­tus gave in­vestors the first look at the firm's fi­nan­cial health ahead of the mega IPO.

The com­pany said rev­enue was 72.5 bil­lion yuan ($10.5 bil­lion) in the first half of the year, up nearly 40% com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2019. Profit rose nearly 12 times to 21.9 bil­lion yuan in the same pe­riod. The num­bers un­der­score how Ant, 33%owned by Alibaba and con­trolled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has re­mained re­silient even as the COVID-19 pan­demic has crip­pled many busi­nesses.

Ant, based in China's eastern city of Hangzhou, has amassed a range of fi­nan­cial li­censes in­clud­ing pay­ments, on­line bank­ing, in­sur­ance and mi­cro lend­ing to op­er­ate in China's vast fi­nan­cial mar­ket. Its big­gest and best-known busi­ness is Ali­pay, the largest player in China's 430 tril­lion yuan ($62 tril­lion) third-party mo­bile pay­ments mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­searcher Qianzhan.

Ali­pay had 711 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users as of June, with pay­ment vol­umes reach­ing 118 tril­lion yuan ($17 tril­lion) in China, Ant's fil­ings showed. Alibaba set up Ali­pay in 2004, mod­el­ling the busi­ness on U.S. peer PayPal Hold­ings Inc, to help Chi­nese buy­ers shop on­line. It spun off the unit which op­er­ated the on­line pay­ments plat­form in 2011 over the ob­jec­tions of share­hold­ers ahead of its own list­ing.

TEHRAN -REUTERS

Head of Iran's Atomic En­ergy Or­ga­ni­za­tion Ali-Ak­bar Salehi and In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Rafael Grossi, at­tend a press con­fer­ence in Tehran, Iran.

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