Asia News Sep 11

Temasek 'eyeing stake in Ant IPO'

Sources say Singapore state investment group and the GIC wealth fund are both looking at taking part in what could be the world's biggest IPO, if it raises $30 billion 

Temasek 'eyeing stake in Ant IPO'
A Temasek logo is seen at the annual Temasek Review in Singapore in this file photo from July 2016 by Reuters' Edgar Su.

Singapore state investment body Temasek Holdings is reportedly considering an investment in the initial public offering of Chinese financial technology company Ant Group.

There is a lot of attention on the IPO, because it could be the world's biggest ever. Recent reports have said the dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai could raise up to $30 billion.

Reuters said sources familiar with the matter said Temasak and the city-state's other sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pte Ltd, are both looking at taking a stake in the IPO.

Ant, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding, plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market.

Temasek, GIC and Ant declined to comment to Reuters.

Temasek owns and manages a net portfolio of S$306 billion (as of 31 March 2020), most of which is invested in Asia – 24% Singapore and 42% Asia ex-Singapore, according to recent reports. It invests mostly in equities.

The application to list by Ant Group, a Chinese financial technology firm, to list on the STAR market (similar to the Nasdaq) will be reviewed next week on September 18, the Shanghai stock exchange said on Wednesday.

Sources have said it could be the world's largest IPO and may take place as soon as October.

Under the local rules, once Ant goes through the STAR Market listing committee's hearing, it can then register the flotation with the Chinese securities regulator and wait for the registration to be accepted before starting the pricing consultation process.

Ant has addressed questions raised by the Shanghai exchange over its planned IPO, as per disclosures on the bourse website on Monday and Wednesday. The firm can seek listing approval from the exchange after the bourse is satisfied with its responses.

The Shanghai exchange had earlier sought explanations from the company about its relationship with Alibaba, how regulatory changes will impact business, and comparable peers in domestic and overseas markets.

According to its filing earlier on Wednesday, Ant said that although its Alipay arm was set up by Alibaba, the two firms have reached strategic partnerships and have pledged not to compete with each other.

Alipay, Ant's biggest and best-known business, is the largest player in China's 430 trillion yuan ($62 trillion) third-party mobile payments market, according to market researcher Qianzhan.

The IPO of Ant, already the world's most valuable unicorn – or billion-dollar unlisted tech firm – would be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai's year-old STAR Market.

If Ant completes the offering at the around the $30 billion upper end of expectations, it would rival oil giant Saudi Aramco, which raised $29.4 billion last December, surpassing the record set by Alibaba's $25 billion flotation in 2014.

With reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore, Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Samuel Shen for Reuters.