China's SF in talks to take Kerry Logistics private - sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese logistics giant SF Holdings Co is in talks to take Hong Kong-listed Kerry Logistics Networks Ltd private, in the sector’s latest consolidation attempt, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

SF is preparing to offer a decent premium to Kerry’s current trading price, said one of the people, who declined to be named as the information is confidential.

In the past six months, buyers have paid an average premium of 38.1% to a Hong Kong-listed company’s average 1-month share price to take them private, according to Refinitiv, a unit of the London Stock Exchange. Based on that, a take-private of Kerry Logistics would cost SF about HK$23.27 a share.

Shares of Kerry Logistics rose 25% on Thursday to close at HK$23.45 apiece, giving the company a market cap of $5.44 billion.

A deal proposal could be announced as soon as next week, said another one of the sources, cautioning however the talks may not eventually materialise.

SF did not respond to a request for comment. Kerry Logistis declined to comment. The company halted trading of its shares on Friday morning before the stock market opened, pending an announcement.

The people declined to be identified as the information is confidential.

Kerry Logistics and its units offer integrated logistics, international freight forwarding, industrial project logistics, cross-border e-commerce, last-mile fulfilment and infrastructure investment with a presence in 59 countries, according to its website.

It reported revenue of HK$21 billion ($2.7 billion) for the first half of 2020, up 10% year-on-year. Its core net profit - at HK$845 million, was up 26% from the same period a year ago.

Reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Stephen Coates