March 16, 2020 / 4:46 AM / 23 days ago

JD.com hires banks for a Hong Kong listing as early as mid-year: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - E-commerce firm JD.com Inc has hired Bank of America and UBS to work on a second listing in Hong Kong, joining a queue of U.S.-listed Chinese firms with plans to follow Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in trading closer to home, two people with direct knowledge told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: JD.com sign is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

The listing could happen as early as mid-2020, said the people, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential.

JD.com, which has a market capitalization of $58.2 billion, declined to comment on its IPO prospects. The two investment banks involved in the deal also declined to comment.

The listing plans come as China is gradually recovering from a coronavirus outbreak that has infected over 80,000 people, claimed over 3,000 lives and paralyzed businesses and public services nationwide.

Despite the outbreak, JD.com has forecast revenues to rise by at least 10% in the first quarter as consumers stuck at home turned online for most of their shopping needs.

In contrast, rival Alibaba, which has a much bigger range of businesses and unlike JD.com outsources its delivery services, warned of a drop in revenues at its key e-commerce businesses in the first quarter.

Alibaba raised $12.9 billion in Hong Kong in November, which was the city’s largest deal since 2010 and the world’s biggest ever cross-border secondary listing.

Other U.S.-traded Chinese companies with plans to follow suit include online travel giant Ctrip and internet companies NetEase Inc and Baidu Inc.

Companies, however, have not been able to conduct face-to-face meetings with advisers or potential investors due to travel restrictions linked to the outbreak.

JD.com kicked off preparations for the second listing some time ago, said one of the people. It was not clear when the company will file for the listing.

Its total net revenue rose 27% to 170.68 billion yuan in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Its stock price stood at $39.71 per share as of Friday’s close.

Reporting by Kane Wu and Scott Murdoch; Additional reporting Yingzhi Yang; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Edwina Gibbs

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