September 4, 2018 / 9:48 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-China's Meituan Dianping doubles revenue but losses widen ahead of IPO

* Revenue for 4 mths to April jumped to $2.3 bln

* Trend in line with earnings for 2017

* Firm under pressure from Alibaba-backed rivals (Recasts and adds earnings details)

BEIJING, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Chinese on-demand food delivery service firm Meituan Dianping said revenue for the four months ended in April almost doubled from a year earlier, though losses widened ahead of a highly anticipated Hong Kong listing.

The company, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd, is spending heavily to fend off a slew of rivals aligned with Tencent rival Alibaba.

Revenue jumped to 15.8 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) and gross transactions on its platform also doubled to 71.1 billion yuan, according to a updated prospectus filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

But its net loss for the period was almost three times bigger at 22.8 billion yuan.

Meituan is seeking to raise as much as $4 billion before an overallotment option, and is valuing itself at up to $55 billion, sources with knowledge of the IPO have previously said.

The latest figures were in line with the trend of strong growth in revenue but wider losses posted in 2017. The losses also reflect adjustments related to share-based compensation ahead of its listing.

In the past year, several of Meituan Dianping’s top competitors have consolidated under Alibaba, including food delivery firms Ele.me and Baidu Waimai, which was previously controlled by Baidu Inc.

That has put extra pressure on Meituan Dianping, especially during the summer months when on-demand food services offer heavy discounts to attract new customers.

Ele.me has said it spent 3 billion yuan on marketing this summer in an effort to lift its market share over 50 percent. Meituan Dianping commanded around 59 percent of China’s on-demand delivery market as of March 31. ($1 = 6.8278 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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