SF Holding Co., China’s largest express delivery company, has started preparations with banks for its Hong Kong second listing, which could raise $2 billion to $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Shenzhen-listed company, also known as SF Express, is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Huatai Securities Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the potential share sale, the people said. A listing in the financial hub could happen as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
SF Express had considered a second listing in Hong Kong and held initial discussions with potential advisers in 2020, Bloomberg News reported at the time. The company now has a market value of about $39 billion, making it the world’s fourth-largest listed delivery services firm behind United Parcel Service Inc., Deutsche Post AG and FedEx Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares of SF Express have slipped about 5% so far in 2023.
Deliberations are ongoing, and details of the listing such as the fund-raising amount and timing could still change, the people said. Representatives for Goldman, Huatai and JPMorgan declined to comment, while a representative for SF Express didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
SF Express is gearing up for a Hong Kong listing as the global market of initial public offering shows signs of life. Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health business Kenvue Inc. this week raised $3.8 billion in an upsized U.S. IPO that’s the world’s biggest this year. Some of SF Holding’s rivals — J&T Express and Cainiao Network Technology Co., the logistics unit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. — are also looking to raise funds through IPOs in Hong Kong.
Founded in Shunde of Guangdong province in 1993, SF Express covers almost all of China, while its international express business covers 98 countries, according to its latest annual report. It owns 77 all-cargo aircraft. SF Express’s 2022 net income rose 45% from a year earlier to 6.17 billion yuan ($893 million), while its revenue climbed 29% to around 267.5 billion yuan.
The company, whose founder Wang Wei grew up in Hong Kong, went public in Shenzhen through a so-called backdoor listing in 2017. The debut propelled Wang to become the third-richest person in China at the time. He is still the country’s 15th wealthiest person, with a net worth of about $14.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
A second listing would also mark another deal-making milestone for SF Express, which in 2021 acquired about 52% stake in Hong Kong-listed Kerry Logistics Network Ltd. for about HK$30 billion ($3.8 billion). It was the company’s biggest ever purchase. In the same year, its units SF Real Estate Investment Trust and Hangzhou SF Intra-City Industrial Co. raised about HK$2.6 billion and HK$2.2 billion in Hong Kong IPOs, respectively.
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