Wednesday 23 September 2020 3:24 pm

Ant Group set to raise $17.5bn in Hong Kong listing

Ant Group is said to be targeting a raise of $17.5bn when it goes public in Hong Kong as part of a dual listing that will also see it float in Shanghai.

The Chinese firm is hoping to raise a total of $35bn across both listings, which if successful, will top Saudi Aramco’s $29.4bn debut to be the world’s largest ever flotation.

The company, which is backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, owns the world’s most valuable private fintech Ant Financial.

Ant Group will not offer a cornerstone tranche as part of the Hong Kong listing, people familiar with the matter told media outlets.

It is said to have settled on the $35bn target after assessing early investor interest and based on a higher valuation of about $250bn or more.

The float will be split evenly between Hong Kong and Shanghai, selling between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of its enlarged share capital.

While cornerstone investors are useful for buying a large chunk of an initial public offering and are common in Asian markets, they often demand lower valuations.

A high percentage of cornerstone investors would also sharply reduce post-listing trading volumes, as shares are locked up for at least six months in Hong Kong.

Ant has already secured approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange for one half of its flotation plans. It is expected to seek permission to list in Hong Kong in the coming days.

The company declined to comment.