China toy maker Pop Mart looks past downturn to open $600 mln Hong Kong IPO -sources

HONG KONG, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Chinese toy maker Pop Mart International Group will aim to raise up to $600 million when it opens the books for its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) on Monday, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The company, which manufactures the popular Molly doll and a range of figurine-like pop culture toys, will be valued at $7 billion after the IPO, a separate source confirmed.

The sources could not be identified because the information has not yet been made public.

Pop Mart did not respond to a request for comment.

Starting an IPO for a company so heavily reliant on consumer spending like Pop Mart shows the sharp rebound in Chinese sentiment less than a year after the pandemic emerged widely in the country, according to analysts.

“The stock market in general and the IPO market in particular have taken COVID-19 in their stride with most investors willing to look past its impact,” said Sumeet Singh, an Aequitas Research analyst who publishes on the Smartkarma website.

“Most of the Chinese companies have been able to stage a quick recovery as well, which is a sign of consumer spending coming back to pre-COVID levels.”

Consumer based IPOs have been popular in Hong Kong this year. Nongfu Spring, a bottled water producer, set a record level for retail demand when it raised $1.1 billion in September.

Pop Mart operates 136 retail stores in 33 mainland Chinese cities, its prospectus shows, and 1,001 vending machines in addition to its online sales.

Revenue for the June half at Pop Mart reached $817.7 million yuan, up from $543 million yuan in the same period last year.

The company plans to use the IPO proceeds to open 183 new retail shops and 1,800 more roboshops – or vending machine outlets – over the next two years, the prospectus said.

An IPO has been under consideration for more than a year with at least one sponsor bank mandated since late 2019. (Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; additional reporting Sophie Yu in Beijing; Editing by Kim Coghill)