Sunday, 07 March, 2021


Alibaba shares leap after Ant Group IPO filing

The mascot for Ant Financial is displayed in the lobby of the company's headquarters in Hangzhou China. Image Qilai Shen  Bloomberg The mascot for Ant Financial is displayed in the lobby of the company's headquarters in Hangzhou China. Image Qilai Shen Bloomberg
Conrad Doyle | 26 August, 2020, 18:44

Ant said in its filing that it plans to sell no less than 10% of its enlarged share capital in the dual-listing.

Alipay still accounts for much of Ant's revenues; the mobile payments app has over a billion annual active users and was used for $16 trillion in transactions past year.

Meanwhile Alibaba, which owns a 33% stake in Ant, is increasingly folding its services into the Alipay app.

If this valuation target is achieved, Ant Group would be the third biggest financial firm in China, only behind the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Ping An Insurance.

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.

CICC, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are sponsoring Ant's IPO in Hong Kong, while CICC and China Securities Co are leading the float's onshore leg. The app had more than 1 billion users and 711 million monthly active users. This compares to revenues of 120.6 billion yuan ($17 billion) for the whole of 2019 with profits of 18 billion yuan ($2.5 billion).

The shift is expected to reduce Chinese regulatory pressures on Ant, which previously came under scrutiny for its Yu'E Bao money-market fund, which became the world's largest by providing outsized investment returns from customers' idle Alipay balances.

The Ant Group, billion-dollar unlisted tech firm, did not disclose the size, timetable or other key details of the offering in its preliminary prospectus.

The company is also seeing a shift in its revenue structure, generating a greater contribution from technology services fees.

The sale offers a potential windfall for a raft of US private equity firms, including Silver Lake Management LLC, Warburg Pincus LLC and Carlyle Group Inc., which all invested at least $500 million in the firm's latest 2018 funding round, people familiar with the matter have said.

Its revenues rose to $10.5bn in the first half of 2020, up nearly 40pc compared to the same period previous year.

Ant's initial public offering would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and the year-old STAR Market, boosting Hong Kong's status as an global IPO market and helping enhance STAR as a capital markets center. Alibaba returned with a $13 billion secondary listing past year in Hong Kong. Ma said in 2018 that his promise to create 1 million U.S.jobs was impossible to fulfill because of the trade tensions. In China, it is building out consumer and technology services, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, robo advisory and loan advisory.

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