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REFILE-Alibaba-backed Ninja Van in no rush for IPO after raising $578 mln

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(Corrects spelling of Lai in final para)

By Anshuman Daga

SINGAPORE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian logistics provider Ninja Van is sufficiently capitalised after raising $578 million and it could be about 18 months before it taps public markets for an IPO, the head of the Singapore-based company said on Monday.

On Sunday, Ninja Van said it added Alibaba Group as an investor in its late stage funding round. Existing investors such as European parcel delivery network GeoPost/DPDgroup, Monk's Hill Ventures and Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin's B Capital Group also participated in the round.

"At this moment, we are sufficiently funded," Lai Chang Wen, co-founder and CEO of Ninja Van Group, told Reuters in an interview.

"There's enough interest in the company that it's easy to raise private capital. So we are in no rush to do an initial public offering," Lai, a former derivatives trader, added.

The funding comes as fintech and e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia are raising hefty amounts of capital https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/southeast-asia-tech-dealmaking-booms-investors-place-post-covid-bets-2021-08-27, with global investors betting on post-pandemic technology plays.

Launched in 2014, Ninja Van is benefiting from a boom in e-commerce, a market that is forecast to nearly treble to $172 billion by 2025 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southeast-asia-technology-idUSKBN27Q0CB. It counts Sea's Shopee, Bukalapak and Alibaba Group's Lazada among its clients. Asked about the potential timing of a public listing, Lai said he believed it could be 18 months before the company eyes an IPO and said U.S. markets seemed ideal as a listing venue.

"We think that the U.S. investor base publicly is best suited for understanding businesses like ours," he said.

Ninja Van, which had previously raised a total of nearly $400 million, delivers about 2 million parcels a day and expects strong growth over multiple years.

"This story is not ending in 1-2 years," said Lai, who pointed to strong growth in social commerce and market places due to a high degree of trust among consumers and the building up of the payments and logistics infrastructure. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Kirsten Donovan)