JD.com, one of China’s largest e-commerce sites, has applied for a secondary listing in Hong Kong, in what could be the largest fundraising exercise so far this year in the city.
The Beijing-headquartered company lodged a confidential filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to three people familiar with the matter. It could raise as much as US$2 billion via the listing, although the exact amount has yet to be finalised and would depend on the performance of JD.com’s Nasdaq-traded shares, one of the sources said.
It remains unclear how many new shares JD.com will issue as part of the secondary listing, as management will want to balance the dilution of existing shareholders against creating a sizeable enough float to avoid Hong Kong’s trading volume leaching away to New York. JD.com has an overweening market capitalisation of US$64 billion in the US.
The Hong Kong stock exchange requires companies to float a minimum of 25 per cent of their shares, but a company already listed elsewhere can win a waiver. Alibaba’s primary share deal represented about 2.76 per cent of its outstanding equity.
JD.com will hope to be admitted swiftly into the Hang Seng Composite Index and subsequently into the Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Connect programmes. A tranche of the deal will be reserved for Hong Kong retail investors, although the size of the tranche will depend on the overall level of subscription.
The shares will be priced close to JD.com’s US trading level to limit the chance for arbitrage between the trading venues. Its shares closed at US$43.58 on Tuesday in New York, after rising about 24 per cent year to date.