December 1, 2015 / 10:56 AM / 3 years ago

China's STO Express to go public in $2.6 bln reverse takeover deal

HONG KONG/BEIJING, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Chinese delivery firm Shentong (STO) Express has closed a 16.9 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) reverse takeover deal with a Shenzhen-traded valve maker, a fast-track way of becoming the first major express parcel service to be publicly listed.

Zhejiang IDC Fluid Control Co Ltd said in an exchange filing on Tuesday it would acquire STO Express, raising 4.8 billion yuan in a private placement to fund the acquisition and other projects. Meanwhile, Zhejiang IDC will sell all of its debt and assets to Ultra Linkage Limited.

An STO Express executive told Reuters in October the company had been planning the ‘back-door’ listing for years to bypass China’s lengthy initial public offering (IPO) process.

The move allows investors to buy into the fast-growing logistics sector being driven by China’s booming e-commerce market, led by giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The express delivery sector grew around 50 percent each year between 2010-2014 and handled 14 billion parcels last year, State Post Bureau data show. But it has remained elusive for investors due to the dominance of private and state-owned firms.

State-owned China Postal Express & Logistics Co, which bills itself the country’s biggest courier, cancelled a planned IPO in 2013 amid a lengthy suspension of market listings by regulators. Competing parcel services YTO Express and S.F. Express are privately held.

STO Express says it delivers one in six parcels in China. (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Mark Potter)

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