Chinese snack maker Weilong Delicious aims to raise up to $141 mln in trimmed-down Hong Kong IPO

Dec 5 (Reuters) - Chinese spicy snack food maker Weilong Delicious Global is aiming to raise up to $141 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering launched on Monday, well below its initial target of about $1 billion.

The company is selling 96.39 million shares in the range of HK$10.40 to HK$11.40 each, according to its listing documents.

In that range, Weilong is valued at $3.13 billion to $3.43 billion, its prospectus said.

The company, backed by major investors such as CPE, Hillhouse, Tencent (0700.HK) and Sequoia Capital China, declined to comment on scaling back the size of its IPO fund raising target and valuation changes.

Weilong, founded in 1999 and based in Luohe city in the central Chinese province of Henan, makes popular spicy snacks made of soybeans and eggs. It also produces non-spicy snacks.

The company had aimed to raise up to $1 billion last year, two sources told Reuters, but the deal was put on hold because of turbulence in broader financial markets.

Its valuation has also fluctuated since a pre-IPO funding round in early 2021, when it was valued at almost $9.4 billion, one of the sources said.

Weilong then made share-based payments to some of its pre-IPO investors ahead of the deal's launch which valued it around $4.3 billion.

New share sales in Hong Kong are at the lowest point since 2012, according to Refinitiv data.

Three cornerstone investors have signed up to by about $74.2 million worth of Weilong stock, which represents about 55% of the IPO, according to the listing documents.

The final share price will set on Thursday and the stock is due to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Dec. 15.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney; additional reporting Roxanne Liu in Beijing. Editing by Kim Coghill and Nivedita Bhattacharjee

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Scott Murdoch has been a journalist for more than two decades working for Thomson Reuters and News Corp in Australia. He has specialised in financial journalism for most of his career and covers equity and debt capital markets across Asia and Australian M&A. He is based in Sydney.