Consumer lender Home Credit plans over $1 billion float in Hong Kong

PRAGUE/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Consumer lender Home Credit BV filed an initial public offering in Hong Kong on Monday, which two sources said could raise more than $1 billion, just three days after AB InBev ABI.BR suspended the listing of its Asian activities.

The Prague-based lender, controlled by Czech financial group PPF, plans to go public in late September, one of the sources said, becoming the latest non-Asian company to choose to list in Hong Kong.

Home Credit declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Home Credit joins a number of large international companies that have made plans to register in Hong Kong. UK-based data center operator Global Switch is also aiming to raise up to $1 billion in a Hong Kong IPO.

Anheuser Busch InBev SA ABI.BR, the world’s largest brewer, had planned to list its Asia Pacific business in Hong Kong, but AB InBev has now suspended the sale of shares, citing market conditions among other factors.

The cancellation of Budweiser APAC’s potential $9.8 billion listing, the world’s largest so far this year, sounds a pessimistic note for other major Hong Kong IPOs.

CONSUMER LENDER IN CHINA

Home Credit, which offers point-of-sale loans, cash loans and revolving loan products, has become one of the largest non-bank consumer lenders in China, its largest country of operation in terms of gross loans.

The company, founded in 1997 in the Czech Republic, operates in several countries including China, India, Indonesia and Russia. It had assets worth nearly 25 billion euros ($28.18 billion) in March, according to its draft prospectus filed on Monday.

In May, PPF, owned by Czech businessman Petr Kellner, increased its stake in Home Credit to 91.1% after buying 2.5% from co-shareholder Emma Capital in a deal the company to 8.5 billion euros. Czech investment group Emma Capital holds the remaining 8.9%.

The company granted about 21 billion euros in gross loans in March and made a net profit of 154 million euros in the first three months of this year, according to the prospectus.

The consumer lender plans to use the proceeds to increase its capital base and expand its lending business, particularly in South and Southeast Asia as well as China, according to the prospectus.

Citigroup NC, HSBC Holdings HSBA.L, and Morgan Stanley MS.N are the co-sponsors of the float.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Felix Tam. Additional reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong. Editing by Jan Harvey/Kirsten Donovan/Jane Merriman