Caixin
May 02, 2017 02:25 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

P2P Lender China Rapid Finance Jumps in Trading Debut

(Beijing) — Shares of peer-to-peer (P2P) lender China Rapid Finance jumped nearly 30% in their first two trading days, kicking off a wave of IPOs for a handful of Chinese financial technology companies aiming to list this year.

China Rapid Finance shares priced at $6 each on the New York Stock Exchange late last week, helping the company raise $60 million. That price was well below the previous targeted range of $9.50 to $11.50, as investors worried about the company’s small size, lack of profitability and unimpressive revenue growth.

The stock rose 7% in its trading debut on Friday, and then another 20% in its second day at the start of this week, ending at $7.65 per American Depositary Share at the Monday close.

The company’s net loss widened to $40.4 million in 2016 from $33.2 million the previous year, even as revenue shrunk to $55.9 million from $56.1 million over the same period, according to its previously filed IPO prospectus.

China Rapid Finance may have received the weak pricing due to its hurry to get to market rather than waiting to become profitable or post stronger revenue growth, as a recent surge in loans is expected to translate to higher income, said Ryan Roberts, an analyst at MCM Partners.

“They (recently) added quite a few new borrowers, but those aren’t immediately profitable due to customer acquisition costs,” Roberts said. “The longer (the new borrowers) use the platform, the better the economics gets. It takes about a year.”

China Rapid Finance’s initial public offering is the first major offering this year by a Chinese company in New York, following a recent wave of privatizations by previously listed firms whose shares had languished due to lack of investor interest. A new wave of listings is expected this year from the fintech sector, which has grown rapidly as Beijing opened the financial services industry to private investment over the last decade.

Two other P2P lenders, Hexindai and Ppdai, are also on track to make their respective New York listings by the end of this year, sources previously told Caixin. Consumer microlender Qudian could also raise up to $1 billion in a New York listing as early as June, the sources said.

The largest offering from the group is likely to come from Lufax, one of China’s biggest P2P lenders, which could raise more than $1 billion in its IPO that could come in Hong Kong or possibly China later this year.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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