China Baijiu Maker ZJLD Group Seeks Up to $812 Million in Hong Kong’s Largest IPO in 2023

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Chinese liquor company ZJLD Group is looking to raise up to HK$6.37 billion ($811.5 million) in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), the largest in the financial center this year, according to exchange filings on Monday.

The company, backed by U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co Inc KKR.N, is offering about 490.7 million shares in a price range of $HK10.78 to HK$12.98 each. That would see it raise between $674 million and $811.5 million, the filings show.

At the top of the range, ZJLD would be valued at $5.4 billion. The final price will be set on Thursday, with shares due to start trading on April 27.

There is also a so-called “greenshoe” option to sell another 73 million shares that could raise an extra $122 million, according to the filings.

ZJLD makes baijiu, a colorless distilled spirit popular across China. Baijiu is considered China’s national liquor and is the world’s most consumed liquor, according to ZJLD’s prospectus.

Baijiu accounts for 69.5% of the alcoholic beverage market in China. Its market share in China is greater than wine’s market share in France and beer’s market share in the U.S., according to its documents.

KKR owns a 16.2% stake in the company, which would fall to 13.8% after the IPO, Hong Kong’s largest since Chinese lithium battery maker CALB Group Co 3931.HK raised $1.3 billion in October.

Hong Kong traditionally has been a major IPO center in Asia but new shares sales have fallen sharply as global financial markets remain volatile and Chinese companies awaited new rules governing offshore listings that are now in place.

In the first quarter of this year, just $508.3 million was raised in new share sales in Hong Kong, according to Refinitiv data.

Dealmakers are hopeful the city’s IPO volumes will improve in the second half of 2023 and into next year as markets stabilize and major firms like Alibaba Group 9988.HK and 9618.HK plan a number of spin-off listings.

$1 = 7.8493 Hong Kong dollars