Perfect Diary parent's shares soar in U.S. debut

(Reuters) - Shares of Yatsen Holding Ltd YSG.N, the parent company of China-based beauty unicorn Perfect Diary, jumped 66% in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, adding to a host of blockbuster initial public offerings (IPOs) this year.

The firm’s shares opened at $17.51 per American depositary share (ADS), well above the IPO price of $10.50 per ADS.

Earlier in the session, Yatsen had priced its offering of 58.75 million ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange at the top-end of its range of $8.50 to $10.50 per ADS, raising $617 million.

Founded in 2016, Yatsen has launched three fast-growing, cosmetics and skincare brands — Perfect Diary, Little Ondine, and Abby’s Choice.

With chat groups, video streams and low prices for foundation, Perfect Diary emerged out of nowhere four years ago to become a cosmetics giant for the digital age, trailing only L'Oreal SA OREP.PA and LVMH LVMH.PA in the world's No. 2 market for make-up.

As of Sept. 30, Yatsen had more than 200 stores across China, an increase from 40 stores at the end of 2019.

“The core focus is still the domestic market in the next three to five years expand,” said Yatsen CEO Huang Jinfeng. “We will fund research and development, manufacturing, and looking to open 600 to 1,000 stores.”

Yatsen is backed by Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Boyu Capital and Chinese Culture Group.

Yatsen’s IPO comes at a time when U.S.-listed Chinese companies are facing tightened scrutiny and strict audit requirements from U.S. regulators.

Sentiment toward Chinese firms among U.S. investors has also been hit by the fallout from Luckin Coffee Inc. The coffee chain, which was listed on the Nasdaq, earlier this year disclosed that some of its employees fabricated sales accounts.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and CICC are the lead underwriters of Yatsen’s IPO.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Maju Samuel