China Fintech Firm Lufax Seeks Up to $2.36 Billion in IPO

Chinese financial technology firm Lufax Holding Ltd., backed by Ping An Insurance Group Co., is looking to raise as much as $2.36 billion in an initial public offering that would be one of the biggest by a Chinese company this year on a U.S. exchange.

Lufax is marketing 175 million American depositary shares for $11.50 to $13.50 each, according to a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Two ADS represent one ordinary share.

Lufax is going public in the U.S. as relations between Washington and Beijing are at a low ebb, with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over trade, access to capital markets and data privacy. In August, U.S. regulators threatened to ban Chinese companies from listing on American exchanges, citing Beijing’s refusal to allow inspections of the firms’ audits. Nevertheless, firms based in China and Hong Kong have raised $10.9 billion through U.S. IPOs this year, the most since 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Lufax, which was once among China’s largest peer-to-peer lenders, has morphed into a financial giant offering wealth management and retail lending services. At the top of its price range, it would be valued at almost $33 billion based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus.

The company, which has explored an IPO for several years, transformed its business after Chinese authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on the once-unruly P2P lending sector. Lufax is now an arm of Ping An, China’s largest insurer by market value. Its assets under management dropped by 6.1% in 2019 after “asset portfolio adjustment and restrictions on consumer finance products” slashed transaction volumes by 30%.

For the six months ended June 30, Lufax had a net profit of more than $1 billion on total income of $3.64 billion, according to its filing.

Lufax plans to use the funds from the IPO for purposes which may include investment in product development, sales and marketing activities, technology infrastructure, capital expenditures, global expansions and other general and administrative matters. It may also use them for acquisitions or investments.

The company expects price the offering on Oct. 29 and for the shares to begin trading the following day on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LU, according to terms of the deal. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., UBS Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and China PA Securities Co. are leading the offering.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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