Alibaba Heading for Hong Kong Share Sale This Month

The US-listed Chinese e-commerce giant is due to seek approval from Hong Kong’s listing committee on Thursday two people with direct knowledge of the matter said. — AFP  File

The listing would be a big deal for the Hong Kong stock exchange, which could use the boost of a high profile listing.

A successful Hong Kong share sale could also help finance a costly war of subsidies with Meituan Dianping in food delivery and travel, and divert investor cash from rivals like Meituan and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Alibaba is thought to have submitted their application discretely in June with hopes of listing in August, however the unrest in Hong Kong forced the company to postpone the process. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) is expected to raise up to $15 billion.

Companies so far this year have sold shares worth US$429 billion via IPOs and follow-on sales - running far short of the US$604 billion they sold in the whole of last year, according to data from Refinitiv. That would be the largest IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in nearly ten years.

The result beat analysts' expectations of revenue of 116.8 billion yuan ($16.6bn), according to International Brokers Estimate System data from Refinitiv.

Now bankers and investors are watching closely to see whether other US -listed Chinese companies such as Baidu BIDU.O and JD.com JD.O might follow Alibaba's lead.

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A second listing in Hong Kong would also curry favour with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Alibaba and Baidu to Wall Street. The demonstrations are in their fifth month and are frequently violent.

Alibaba will have an opportunity to show prospective investors its most recent sales figures after Monday's Singles Day, mainland China's largest annual online shopping day. Having said that, it is decreased than the $20 billion it experienced aimed to raise in the beginning.

Sources have said the investment banking syndicate will be put in place after Monday.

The deal is now being led by China International Capital Corp (CICC) and Credit Suisse.

The company reported last week that second-quarter revenue increased by 40 per cent to 119.02 billion yuan (S$23.1 billion), from 85.15 billion yuan in the same quarter a year ago.

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