(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- Czech micro-lender Home Credit Group, which runs the only wholly foreign-owned consumer lender in China, said it has backed out of a Hong Kong initial public offering that was expected to raise as much as USD1.5 billion.
"Home Credit Group BV today announced that due to market conditions it has decided not to proceed with a global offering," it said in a statement yesterday. Prague-based Home Credit also said a revival of its IPO bid was not in contemplation.
The firm handed its application to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on July 15. It was reviewed on Aug. 6 and lapses in January. The firm had envisioned raising USD1 billion to USD1.5 billion by putting 10 percent of its equity on the block.
China is its largest market and the Hong Kong listing was calculated to fuel its expansion there and elsewhere. Home Credit Consumer Finance, the firm's China unit, is the only foreign company with a consumer credit license in the country, according to the prospectus.
Formed in 1997, Home Credit mainly extends point-of-sale loans in stores and cash loans. It also issues credit cards in nine countries in Asia and Eastern and Central Europe. Its clientele consists mostly of small business operators with a steady income, but who have difficulty gaining financing from banks. It is a unit of Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Home Credit Group.
The company has provided services to 119 million customers over the years. Its total assets were EUR23.5 billion (USD26 billion), with business revenue of EUR3.96 billion and net profit of EUR433 million (USD478.7 million) as of the end of last year, its prospectus shows.
Editor: Ben Armour