UPDATE 1-KKR-backed Rundong Auto to launch up to $138 mln HK IPO

Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:35am EDT

(Adds details on Rundong's business, use of proceeds)

HONG KONG, July 30 (Reuters) - China's Rundong Automobile Group, backed by private equity firm KKR & Co LP, said it will launch an up to $138 million initial public offering in Hong Kong on Thursday, betting on continued demand for luxury vehicles in the world's second-largest economy.

The IPO will consist of 268.62 million shares in an indicative range of HK$3.58 to HK$3.98, the company said in a statement, valuing the deal at up to HK$1.07 billion ($138.1 million).

The company plans to use 30 percent of the proceeds to pay down bank loans, 20 percent for acquisitions and 19 percent to set up eight stores for BMW and MINI vehicles in Jiangsu and Shandong provinces and also in Shanghai.

The IPO is slated to be priced on Aug. 5, with trading of the shares set for Aug. 12 on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Rundong Auto, which started operating in 1998, has 51 dealerships, with 36 stores in Jiangsu province in eastern China and the remainder in affluent coastal regions including Shanghai and in Shandong province. Most of its stores focus on BMW cars and other luxury brands like Jaguars and Audi, but it also sells Ferrari and Maserati sports cars as well as other mid to high-end brands.

Profit jumped more than threefold to 100.2 million yuan ($16.22 million) in the three months ended in March from 29.2 million yuan in the same period in 2013, while sales grew 62.5 percent over the same period to 3.9 billion yuan, according to a preliminary prospectus of the IPO.

For 2013, profits more than doubled to 248.4 million yuan from 2012, while sales rose 23 percent to 11.6 billion yuan.

KKR invested $100 million in Rundong Auto in four separate rounds between December 2010 and November 2011 and owns a 26 percent stake in the company, according to the IPO prospectus.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were hired as sponsors and joint global coordinators of the IPO, with CCB International and Haitong International also acting as joint bookrunners.

($1 = 7.74 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Dancy Zhang; Writing by Elzio Barreto Editing by Matt Driskill)