Chinese retailer Suning.com says shareholders plan to sell up to 25% stake

Customers look at products in the hall of a Suning Appliance shop in Beijing December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Chinese retailer Suning.com said on Thursday shareholders plan to sell 20% to 25% of the company to unnamed buyers which might lead to a change in control as its parent seeks to raise cash.

The company said it was notified of the stake sale by its founder Zhang Jindong and its parent Suning Appliance Group, who respectively hold a 20.96% and 19.88% stake in the firm.

Suning.com’s other shareholders include e-commerce giant Alibaba Group which bought a 19.99% stake as part of a strategic partnership in 2015.

“The transfer, if completed, will help further improve the company’s shareholding structure and the steady implementation of long-term strategy,” Suning said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Thursday, without elaborating.

Trading of shares in Suning.com, which is one of China’s largest online and offline retailers of electronics and other consumer goods, was suspended ahead of the announcement. The company said the deal still needs approval by authorities.

Prior to the trading suspension, shares of Suning.com were last traded at 7 yuan ($1.09) each and a 25% stake would be valued at around 16.3 billion yuan ($2.5 billion), according to Reuters calculations.

Chinese financial media Caixin reported on Thursday that the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in Nanjing, where Suning is headquartered, is most likely to become the new controlling shareholder.

It also said the other investors might include state-owned firms Jiangsu Transportation, Jiangsu Guoxin Investment Group and Nanjing New Industry Investment Group. Suning.com declined to comment on Caixin’s report.

Concerns over the liquidity situation of Suning.com’s parent company arose last year in local media. Ratings agency China Chengxin International Rating Co. estimates that the two companies face a combined 15.8 billion yuan worth of bonds coming due this year.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.