December 21, 2017 / 3:50 PM / 3 months ago

REFILE-Chinese online lender Lexinfintech surges in US market debut

(Corrects spelling to “depositary” in paragraph 3)

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Chinese online lender Lexinfintech’s shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, in a sign that investors were looking past Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

Shares of Lexinfintech Holdings Ltd rose as much as 53 percent on the Nasdaq, valuing the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

Its initial public offering was priced at $9 per American depositary share, at the bottom of a $9 to $11 range, and raised $108 million.

The company last week slashed the size of the IPO by two-thirds to a maximum of $151.8 million following the clampdown on micro-lenders by China’s financial regulators.

China is trying to curb the fast yet haphazard growth at the country’s online micro-lenders, unveiling tougher new rules in recent weeks including a ban on loans to borrowers who have no source of income.

The industry is booming amid rising Chinese incomes and a low credit card penetration rate.

Micro-lenders including Qudian, PPDAI Group and Jianpu Technology, all of which recently listed themselves on U.S. exchanges, saw their shares dip after the heightened regulation.

Lexinfintech provides loans to educated young adults aged 18 to 36, including loans for online shopping.

Existing Lexinfintech shareholders including K2 Partners and Chinese e-commerce firm Inc have expressed interest to buy $28 million of its shares at the IPO price, according to a filing with U.S. regulators.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China Renaissance, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs were joint bookrunners on the IPO.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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