Chinese fintech raises $2.4B ahead of US listing

Financial technology firm Lufax has raised $2.4 billion ahead of its Wall Street debut Friday, a report said, marking one of the best US initial public offerings by a Chinese company this year, despite flaring tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The listing comes less than a week before Chinese fintech titan Ant Group is expected to begin trading in Hong Kong and Shanghai following a world record IPO, though it also takes place at a time of heightened volatility on world markets caused by a virus resurgence and US election uncertainty.

A number of high-profile Chinese firms — especially those in the tech sector — have turned to Hong Kong and China to raise cash as the world’s two superpowers battle over a range of issues that have soured relations and raised concerns that companies traded in New York could be delisted.

However, Lufax’s Wall Street debut marks the latest by a Chinese firm this year, making the $10.9 billion in 2020 the highest in six years.

The company sold 175 million American Depository Receipts at $13.50 apiece, Bloomberg News said, citing unnamed sources. Two ADRs represents one ordinary share.

Backed by China’s largest insurer by value Ping An Insurance Group, Lufax was launched in Shanghai in 2011 as one of a host of fintech start-ups focused on online lending service.

After a state tightening on the peer-to-peer lending sector it now focuses mainly on wealth management and financial services.

Lufax was ranked fourth in the world in terms of valuation for a young unlisted company at $38 billion, according to Hurun group in August.

In a filing to the US Stock Exchange in early October, Lufax cited “uncertainties regarding the interpretation and enforcement of (Chinese) laws, rules and regulations”.

Ant Group’s listing through a split float between Hong Kong and Shanghai would exceed the $29 billion chalked up by Saudi Aramco last year. | Agence France-Presse

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