Caixin
Jun 28, 2021 07:03 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Investors Spoil Upstart E-Grocer Missfresh’s Trading Debut

What’s new: Shares in Missfresh Ltd. plummeted by more than a quarter on their first trading day on the Nasdaq, in a setback for the Chinese online grocery platform’s $270 million initial public offering (IPO).

The Beijing-based firm, which is backed by internet giant Tencent, opened at $10.65 per American depositary share on Friday, its first trading day, well below its IPO price of $13. Its stock briefly fell as low as $8.20 before rebounding to close down 25.69% at $9.66.

The background: Several industry insiders told Caixin they were not optimistic about the business models of emerging e-commerce companies like Missfresh, which typically rely on delivering fresh produce directly from extensive networks of small-scale storage warehouses.

“Before the pandemic, the market thought that a rise in order volumes and gross margins would make (the model) profitable, but the pandemic has disproved this logic,” said one longtime industry professional who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

Missfresh posted a net loss of 610 million yuan ($94 million) in this year’s first quarter, as its sales for the period fell by 9.4% year-on-year. Even in the first quarter of 2020, as the pandemic was cresting in China and many housebound people began buying groceries online, the company also booked a loss of around 200 million yuan.

The company was originally set to list on June 29, the same day as larger rival Dingdong Maicai. But it abruptly moved up the schedule to price its shares last Thursday and began trading the following day. Dingdong is still expected to begin trading on Tuesday this week.

Dingdong, which is backed by big-name investors including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management, plans to offer 14 million shares priced between $23.50 and $25.50 in a listing that could raise as much as $357 million.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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