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Lufax, P2P fintech backed by China's biggest insurer, said to aim for IPO in the US this year

Alison Tudor-Ackroyd alison.t-a@scmp.com
·2 mins read

Lufax Holding, which runs an online wealth management and peer-to-peer lending platform, is planning an initial public offering in the US this year, according to a person familiar with the matter, amid heightened scrutiny on US-listed Chinese companies in recent months.

The company is pursuing its long-held ambitions to list in the US as many of its investors and creditors are based in New York, the person said, declining to be named becaused the information is private. Lufax will follow in the footsteps of OneConnect Financial Technology, which raised US$312 millionin its New York Stock Exchange debut in December.

Both Lufax and OneConnect are backed by Ping An Insurance (Group), China's largest insurer.

The decision to stick with a US listing bucked recent trend where Chinese companies, predominantly technology firms, have decamped and turned to Hong Kong and Shanghai for capital amid a regulatory backlash in the US. They were preceded by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, China's biggest chip maker, which ended its 15-year stay on the NYSE in May last year.

OneConnect Financial Technology was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2019. Photo: Handout alt=OneConnect Financial Technology was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2019. Photo: Handout

Founded in 2011, Lufax was valued at US$39.4 billion during its last-known funding round at the end of 2018. Its business is about breaking even, the person familiar said.

While it has previously contemplated a listing in Hong Kong in early 2018, the plan did not materialise for unknown reasons.

Earlier this year, Lufax completed a US$1.29 billion syndicated loan to help finance the firm's restructuring and expansion, just before the coronavirus outbreak severely disrupted business and fundraising globally.

The group has also moved into non-performing loans, just as the asset class swells and prices slip as economies globally slow down or contract. The balance of Lufax's loans have grown steadily, while only 1.9 per cent of its outstanding loans are more than 30 days overdue, people familiar said.

Lufax scaled down its peer-to-peer lending business last year after Beijing tightened its scrutiny on the sector following a string of scandals.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.