Meituan to raise $78b via placement, bonds

Business | Agencies and Victor Zhong 20 Apr 2021

Meituan plans to raise as much as HK$78 billion from the sale of new stock and convertible bonds as it doubles down on efforts to fight the likes of Alibaba (9988) in newer areas such as online groceries

The delivery giant is selling about 187 million shares at HK$265 to HK$274 in a top-up placement, as well as raising US$400 million from shareholder Tencent (0700), according to the terms of a deal obtained by Bloomberg News. It is also selling about US$3 billion in zero-coupon convertible bonds.

The price range for the placement represents a discount of 5.3 percent to 8.4 percent to Monday's closing price of HK$289.20. The convertible bonds are divided into two tranches, with Meituan selling as much as US$1.48 billion in six-year notes and as much as US$1.5 billion in seven-year paper.

Meituan intends to use the proceeds from the offerings for technology innovations, including the research and development of autonomous delivery vehicles, drone delivery, and other cutting-edge technology, and general corporate purposes.

The news comes came days after rumors that Meituan was bracing for a potential fine circulated following a record $18.2 billion fine levied against Jack Ma's Alibaba for abusing its market dominance last week.

Meanwhile, the Central Clearing and Settlement System showed that investors transferred over 300 million, or 5.12 percent, shares to Goldman Sachs, suggesting a possible share placement. However, Meituan has denied the rumors.

Meituan was among 12 Chinese tech giants that issued pledges to obey antitrust laws, a day after Beijing gave the companies a month to conduct internal reviews and comply with government guidelines.

It has embarked on an aggressive spending spree to try and shore up its lead in meal delivery while expanding into a host of adjacent areas, from groceries to ride-hailing. Chief among its expansion efforts is a foray into the red-hot community commerce arena, where buyers in the same neighborhood enjoy bulk discounts of fresh produce.

It yesterday announced that a new generation of self-developed unmanned delivery vehicles has been officially launched in Shunyi, Beijing.

In other news, Tesla saw the number of newly registered cars nearly doubled during the month to 34,636 units, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

CAAM estimated sales of 2.38 million vehicles for the car industry in March, a 66.8 percent year-on-year increase.

This came as two men died after a Tesla vehicle, which was believed to be operating without anyone in the driver's seat, crashed into a tree on Saturday night north of Houston.

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