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Banks

Robust JD Health shines on Hong Kong debut with 56% rise

HONG KONG (Reuters) - JD Health International Inc made one of the strongest public market debuts for a major Hong Kong initial public offering on Tuesday, with its shares closing up 56%.

FILE PHOTO: An entrance of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. (HKEX) is seen in the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China, Sept. 14, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The rise gives JD Health, which specialises in online medical consultation and pharmaceutical sales, a market value of more than $40 billion.

JD Health, a subsidiary of ecommerce giant JD.com, was among the platforms offering consultation for COVID-19 symptoms at the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak this year.

Kingston Securities executive director of research Dickie Wong said such a large market capitalisation should see JD Health fast-tracked into the Shanghai Hong Kong Stock Connect and Hang Seng technology index.

“Investors are thinking they don’t want to wait to buy,” he said. “Once the stock moves into the tech index, then index funds have to buy it no matter what they think of the company so investors are taking advantage of the likely move now.”

JD Health sold shares at HK$70.58 each in its IPO, raising $3.48 billion and giving it an initial valuation of $29 billion.

The float took Hong Kong’s 2020 IPO proceeds beyond $25 billion from over 100 deals, on track for the best year in a decade, Refinitiv data showed. Including secondary listings, the total stands at $39.1 billion.

Tuesday’s IPO was Hong Kong’s largest this year, followed by China Bohai Bank Co Ltd’s $2.05 billion listing in July, and bankers expect more activity in December.

JD Health stock opened at HK$94.50 and reached $HK123.9, before closing at $HK$110, a rise of nearly 56% compared to its issue price which made it the fourth best performing IPO worth more than $1 billion in Hong Kong.

Shares in the now delisted alibaba.com closed 142% higher on its first day of trade in 2007, while Smoore International Holdings gained 139% when it listed in July and China Literature closed 89% above its issue price on its debut in 2017, Refinitiv data showed.

JD Health’s shares outshone the broader Hong Kong market on Tuesday, with the Hang Seng Index closing down 0.76%, its second day in negative territory.

However, JD Health’s rapid rise may make it vulnerable to a swift sell-off, Everbright Sun Hung Kai analyst Kenny Ng said.

“JD Health provides a good opportunity for profit-taking in the short term if its share price is above $HK100 since IPO investors have already got around 40% return,” he said.

PANDEMIC IMPACT

The pandemic has had a “revolutionary impact” on healthcare as both patients and doctors are now more willing to seek and provide treatment over the internet, Chief Executive Xin Lijun told reporters at a briefing in Beijing.

JD Health’s IPO prospectus showed a 36% on-year growth in annual active users to 72.5 million at the end of June.

Xin said JD Health might spend some of the IPO funds buying brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

“Investment is needed to bring more pharmacies and hospitals online into our system,” he said.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Sophie Yu in Beijing; Additional reporting by Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Editing by Kim Coghill, Christopher Cushing and Alexander Smith

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