Chinese spicy snack giant Weilong Delicious seeks to relaunch Hong Kong IPO targeting US$500 million, says source

·3-min read

Weilong Delicious Global Holdings, a maker of spicy snack food, has updated its draft prospectus as it prepares to revive an initial public offering targeting US$500 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

The issuer is gauging investor appetite for its new shares, and a deal launch could happen as soon as July, said the person, who wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak publicly about the transaction. The timing and the size of the offering could still change, the person said.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg overnight. Henan-based Weilong was originally given the green light by the Hong Kong stock exchange’s listing committee in November, but did not immediately proceed with the IPO.

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Its refiling comes after the city’s moribund IPO market regained some momentum in the last couple of weeks as new issuers took advantage of improved stock market sentiment to sell shares to investors. This month, the benchmark Hang Seng Index had gained 3.8 per cent as of Monday, approaching a three-month high.

New issuers such as Weilong and Beijing-based online logistics service provider GoGoX have seized the opportunity to relaunch their IPOs, as they strive to make up for lost time after their listings were either postponed or lapsed.

In the first half of 2022 the Hong Kong bourse has raised 90 per cent less funds via IPO than it did a year ago, as global inflation, rate increases and growth concerns have dented investors’ appetite for risky assets.

Weilong said its operation has not been immune from the inflationary pressure miring the global commodities market. Last year, for example, raw materials such as soyabean oil and flour accounted for almost a third of its total revenue.

“We typically are not able to immediately pass raw material price increases onto our customers. As a result, any significant price increase of our raw materials may have an adverse effect on our profitability,” it said in the draft filing.

Weilong is the largest player in the spicy snack food segment in China, with a 6.2 per cent market share. The value of its retail sales in 2021 was about four times that of its biggest rival, it said, citing data from research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Weilong plans to use the net proceeds of the IPO to upgrade its production facilities and supply chain system, buy land and build new plants.

Its net profit climbed 1 per cent year-on-year to 826.7 million yuan (US$123.45 million) in 2021, having surged 24.4 per cent to 818.8 million yuan in the previous year, according to its updated filing.

CICC, Morgan Stanley and UBS are the joint sponsors of the deal.

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