March 16, 2020 / 4:38 AM / 19 days ago

JD.com hires banks for a Hong Kong listing as early as mid-year - sources

HONG KONG, March 16 (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com Inc has hired Bank of America and UBS to work on a second listing in Hong Kong, the latest to join the queue of Chinese companies expected to follow Alibaba to trade closer to home, two people with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The listing could happen as early as mid-2020, said the people, who declined to comment as the information is confidential.

JD.com, whose current market cap is at $58.2 billion, did not immediately respond to a query for comment. The two banks declined to comment.

JD.com's secondary listing comes as China is gradually recovering from a coronavirus outbreak in January that has infected over 80,000 people, claimed over 3,000 lives and paralysed businesses and public services nationwide.

Rival Alibaba warned in mid-February of a drop in revenues at its key e-commerce businesses in the first quarter as the coronavirus sweeping China hits supply chains and deliveries. JD.com contrarily forecast revenues to rise by at least 10% for the same quarter, benefiting from partnerships with supermarkets for delivering fresh produce and groceries to shoppers choosing to stay indoors due to fears of infection.

Alibaba raised $12.9 billion in Hong Kong in November, which was the city's largest deal since 2010 and the world's biggest ever cross-border secondary listing, prompting a number of US-traded Chinese companies to follow suit, including online travel giant Ctrip and internet companies NetEase Inc and Baidu Inc.

Companies however have not been able to conduct face-to-face meetings with advisers or potential investors due to travel restrictions linked with the outbreak.

JD.com has kicked off preparations for the second listing some time ago, said one of the people. It is not yet clear when the company will file for the listing.

JD's total net revenue rose 27% to 170.68 billion yuan in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. It was traded at $39.71 per share as of Friday's close.

Reporting by Kane Wu and Scott Murdoch; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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