Lufax Targets Initial Public Offering as Early as Second Half

  • Peer-to-peer lender considering Hong Kong, Shanghai for IPO
  • No specific fundraising goal set for sale, Chairman Gibb Says

Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lender and broker, is seeking to list itself as early as the second half of this year either in Hong Kong or Shanghai, Chairman Gregory Gibb said.

Lufax Chairman Gregory Gibb.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The company, which recently rebranded its business as lu.com, doesn’t have a specific fundraising target for the initial public offering, Gibb said in an e-mail, adding it would depend on valuation at the time of the sale. Lufax could raise as much as $5 billion from its IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 26, citing people familiar with the deal.

“Our target window is as early as the second half of 2016 or 2017; our ultimate decision will take into account broader market conditions,” Gibb said. With cash already amassed from earlier fundraisings, the company “is not under any pressure to list by a specific date,” he said.

Lufax hasn’t yet appointed banks to advise it on the deal, he said.

The company said earlier this month that it gathered about $1.2 billion from investors including units of Bank of China Ltd. and China Minsheng Banking Corp. in a fundraising that valued the company at $18.5 billion. The money will be used to support Lufax’s existing peer-to-peer lending operations, and to diversify into new areas such as wealth management, Gibb told reporters in Shanghai at the time.

Shanghai-based Lufax, whose official name is Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., was valued at $10 billion in March, when it raised $500 million in a private placement that already made it the most valuable financial startup, according to data compiled by CB Insights.

China’s finance sector has been going through changes after years of government control, with new Internet finance companies mushrooming to provide innovative and cheaper services. At the same time, technology companies including Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are expanding their own financial services, offering diversified wealth-management products to their clients.

— With assistance by Darren Boey

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