Chinese bottled water company Nongfu Spring has raised more than $1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, allegedly making its founder the country’s third-richest man.
Demands for shares were oversubscribed 1,148 times ahead of its Hong Kong debut on Tuesday, as more than 700,000 small independent investors committed HKD 670.8 billion ($86 billion) for the retail portion of Nongfu’s share offering.
Based in Hangzhou, Nongfu Spring was founded in 1996 by Zhong Shanshan, whose net worth is said to be more than $50 billion, according to Bloomberg data. Zhong reportedly holds more than 84% of the brand’s share capital. He also holds a 75% stake in Beijing Wantai Pharmacy Enterprise, a vaccine and test-kit maker in China.
As well as red-capped bottled water, Nongu Spring also produces packaged drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juices.
Shares were priced at HKD 21.50 ($2.77) but during its Hong Kong debut, the company witnessed them soar as high as 85% up to HKD 39.80 ($5.14). The trading session ended with shares priced at HKD 33.1 ($4.12), around 54% higher than its initial issue price.
Five cornerstone investors took stock in the deal, led by fund managers Fidelity, hedge fund Coatue and Singapore wealth fund GIC. Fidelity and GIC bought nearly 30% of Nongfu’s offering.
388.2 million shares were sold during Nongfu Spring’s IPO deal, marking one of the largest this year in Hong Kong. According to sources, it was the third most traded stock on the Hong Kong market following service apps provider Meituan and Tencent.
Reports suggest that investors were keen to buy stocks on hopes that the company will capitalise on a rising demand for healthier drinks in China.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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