China DNA Giant's Equipment Arm Said to Seek $1 Billion Funding

(Bloomberg) -- BGI Genomics Co., the listed arm of the world’s biggest DNA-sequencing group, is seeking to raise about $1 billion selling a stake in its equipment unit ahead of a planned initial public offering of the business, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is working with advisers to reach out to potential investors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. BGI, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, aims to complete the fundraising this year and list the business in 2019, one of the people said.

A deal could give BGI more firepower as it ramps up competition with Illumina Inc., a San Diego-based equipment maker that boasts a market value of $35 billion. In 2012, BGI beat out Illumina in the bidding for struggling U.S.-based company Complete Genomics Inc. to gain the technology for machines that can more accurately map entire human genomes.

BGI’s deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. BGI hasn’t made a final decision on a venue for the potential listing, one of the people said.

A representative for BGI didn’t answer a phone call seeking comment outside regular business hours in China, and the company’s press office didn’t immediately reply to emailed queries.

BGI’s platforms include its own proprietary BGISEQ series offering data for a wide variety of sequencing services and clinical applications, according to its website. It’s also a certified service provider for the Illumina, Ion Torrent and PacBio sequencing technologies.

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