Alibaba-Backed Courier to List in Hong Kong

(WSJ) One of China’s biggest courier companies plans to raise up to $1.56 billion by selling new shares in Hong Kong, joining a string of Chinese companies obtaining a secondary listing in the city amid U.S.-China tensions.

The Goldman Sachs -led stock sale follows other Hong Kong offerings by Chinese businesses that are already listed in the U.S., including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Inc., NetEase Inc. and Yum China Holdings Inc. 

 ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. is the biggest express-delivery company in China by parcel volumes, according to iResearch analysis cited in its prospectus, with 20.6% market share in China in the first half of this year.

ZTO Express is selling 45 million new shares, a U.S. filing on Tuesday showed. The maximum offer price for the small part of the stock sale reserved for individual investors is 268 Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of $34.57.

The final prices for this part of the deal, and for the larger portion of shares sold to institutional investors, will depend on market demand, although in practice both parts of the offer are likely to be sold at the same price. It plans to set its offer price on Sept. 22 and for its shares to start trading a week later.

Founded in 2002, Shanghai-based ZTO Express has tapped China’s rapidly growing demand for deliveries amid an e-commerce boom. Its shares have risen more than 60% since it raised $1.4 billion from a listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2016.

Like several of its rivals, ZTO Express is backed by Alibaba, which holds a stake of more than 8%. Alibaba, which is a major source of business for the delivery companies, also has positions in peers such as Best Inc., YTO Express Group Co. and Yunda Holding Co.

The Hong Kong listings come amid rising friction between the U.S. and China, and as policy makers in Washington move to step up financial scrutiny of U.S.-listed Chinese companies. The city’s stock exchange has also revamped its listing rules, helping fuel a listing spree by public Chinese companies and by large startups.

Nasdaq-listed hotelier Huazhu Group Ltd. is raising up to $970 million by selling stock and plans to start trading in Hong Kong on Sept. 22.

Another Alibaba affiliate, Ant Group Inc., is preparing for huge initial public offerings in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Source: Wall Street Journal by Joanne Chiu

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