Caixin
Sep 21, 2021 07:49 PM
BUSINESS

Midsize Package Specialist to List in Hong Kong

A row of ANE delivery vehicles. Photo: ane56.com
A row of ANE delivery vehicles. Photo: ane56.com

A Chinese courier has been given the green light for a Hong Kong IPO, which will likely make it the country’s first listed delivery company dedicated to the less-than-truckload (LTL) niche.

No details were offered about how much money Shanghai ANE Logistics Ltd., which is backed by multinational private equity giant Carlyle Group Inc., plans to raise through the listing.

ANE’s prospectus says it is China’s largest national LTL network operator with a 17.3% share of that particular segment, which doesn’t include purely local players. It has a 0.5% share of the total LTL freight market by volume.

In logistics, LTL refers to delivery services that focus on midsize items, occupying the space between services for parcels between 10 kilograms and 3 tons, according to ANE’s prospectus.

Because it’s “relatively easy” to set up and operate an LTL logistics company, the market is “highly fragmented” among many small and midsize firms, according to a market research company qianzhan.com.

The courier collaborates with freight partners in a model in which the partners act as middlemen between ANE’s national network and the shippers and recipients. Building up that national network has required a lot of spending — capital expenditure jumped 198% in 2020 to hit 668 million yuan ($103 million).

As of April, the Shanghai-based firm was working with about 29,400 freight partners and agents, covering about 96% of China’s local-level regions, the data in its prospectus shows.

ANE once also competed for a bite of China’s highly competitive market for smaller packages, known as express delivery. However, continuous losses drove a decision to quit that market and focus on LTL. In 2018, the last year it operated an express delivery service, the company reported a net loss of 2.1 billion yuan. The following year, it turned a profit of 214.9 million yuan and in 2020 it earned 218.2 million yuan. However, that amounted to a measly 2% annual growth rate.

Its liabilities are also mounting, with ANE’s total of 2.6 billion yuan in 2020 easily exceeding its 1.5 billion yuan of assets.

The company, founded in 2010, has undergone 11 rounds of fundraising, involving investors such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd., and Ping An Insurance Company of China Ltd.

Two other major Chinese logistics companies have listed this year— JD Logistics Inc. went public in Hong Kong in May and Full Truck Alliance Co. Ltd. successfully listed in the U.S. in June.

Contact reporter Manyun Zou (manyunzou@caixin.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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