Nongfu Spring flotation generates China’s third-richest gentleman | Small business Information

It has been an amazing year for inventory markets, whether it was the intestine-wrenching falls skilled in March as truth dawned that Covid-19 was not just confined to China, or the astonishing rally observed in US tech shares this summer months.

Tuesday provided evidence that the mania for stocks has not been confined to American investors.

Shares of Nongfu Spring, China’s main bottled water and gentle drinks producer, surged by 85% at one particular point as they created their debut on the Hong Kong Inventory Exchange.

The shares, sold to buyers at HK$21.50 (212p), inevitably finished the session up 54% at HK$33.10 (327p).


Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos
Jack Ma is getting ready to float Ant Team

Demand from customers for the shares was monumental. Retail traders sought to buy 1,148 periods as a lot of shares as ended up getting manufactured obtainable even though institutional buyers utilized to invest in 60 times as many shares as were currently being marketed.

The flotation, the fourth most effective on the Hong Kong trade for a small business with a benefit of extra than $1bn, values Nongfu at just less than $48bn (£37bn).

To set that in context with other big drinks companies, Heineken, the world’s second most significant brewer, has a stock current market valuation of £40bn, though Carlsberg, the world’s third-premier brewer, has a current market value of £16bn.

It also values the firm at more than Danone, the French buyer goods company guiding Volvic and Evian mineral drinking water, whose stock industry capitalisation is just £35bn.

Paras Anand, chief investment officer for the Asia Pacific location at the asset manager Fidelity, stated there experienced been incredibly strong demand from customers equally from retail traders and from institutional buyers.

He instructed Sky News: “It is just one of these incredibly hotly predicted providers to occur to the market place. It gives you a flavour that you will find continue to an terrible lot of appetite for some of these companies coming to sector at the minute.”

The IPO catapults Nongfu Spring’s founder and biggest shareholder, Zhong Shanshan, to selection three in the rankings of China’s billionaires.

Zhong Shanshan. Pic: Shuttertock
Nongfu founder Zhong Shanshan is a largely secretive figure nicknamed ‘The Lone Wolf’. Pic: Shuttertock

He now lags only Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce and fintech companies Alibaba and Ant Group and Pony Ma, whose Tencent Group owns WeChat, China’s most popular social media applications.


Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos
Jack Ma is making ready to float Ant Team

Mr Zhong, 65, owns 84% of the business he established in 1996 and, together with his other belongings – which include his controlling stake in the COVID-19 testing kit maker Beijing Wantai Organic Pharmacy Enterprise – it usually means he now has an estimated web worth of $51bn.

The pink-capped bottles of drinking water offered by Nongfu, which is centered in the jap province of Zhejiang, are ubiquitous across China and the drink enjoys a existence in the region equivalent with that of Coca-Cola in the United States.

Nongfu Spring, whose advertising and marketing slogan is ‘Nongfu Spring tastes a bit sweet’, has been the marketplace leader for the previous eight years and final 12 months had a in close proximity to-21% share of China’s vast bottled h2o sector.

HONG KONG, CHINA - JULY 08: A Chinese flag flies outside the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region after its official inauguration on July 8, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. China opened their new office to supervise and guide the local government's enforcement of the new national security law. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
China-controlled Hong Kong was the venue for the Preliminary Community Giving

It has also efficiently diversified into merchandise classes other than bottled h2o. Two-fifths of its gross sales now occur from tea, vitality beverages and flavoured vitamin beverages and juices.

One dilemma raised by the flotation is irrespective of whether Mr Zhong, who is nicknamed ‘The Lone Wolf’ due to his lack of involvement in possibly politics or company foyer teams, will adopt a greater profile in future.

His background is fascinating. He dropped out of school at the age of 12 when his training was disrupted by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, throughout which his mother and father had been ‘purged’, just after which he worked as an apprentice mason and carpenter.

When university exams had been reintroduced, in the late 1970s, he studied at the Zhejiang Radio and Tv College in advance of becoming a member of the area newspaper, Zhejiang Day by day, as a business reporter.

The knowledge certain him that there would be big enterprise possibilities in China as the country’s financial state was opened up and liberalised by Deng Xiaoping.

He ran a newspaper and even established up a mushroom escalating small business ahead of generating his to start with fortune in vitamin drugs and health and fitness health supplements in the early 1990s. he diversified into bottled h2o in 1996, with a enterprise referred to as Qiando Lake, which developed into Nongfu Spring – whose name interprets into ‘Farmer’s Spring’ – the subsequent 12 months.

Not only has Nongfu Spring’s IPO benefited Mr Zhong. It has also made an approximated 68 millionaires, quite a few of whom do the job for the firm and who were provided shares by Mr Zhong final calendar year, when his wife’s elder sister, Lu Xiaowei, noticed her stake valued at $432m in the IPO.

His two sisters, Zhong Xiaoxiao and Zhong Xuanxuan, respectively own shareholdings value $428m and $214m.

The success of the flotation bodes properly for the forthcoming IPO of Ant Group, Jack Ma’s fintech giant, which is envisioned to occur to market following thirty day period.

Mr Anand mentioned: “Ant Group has distinct has been keenly predicted.

“What we’ve figured out now is that there is very likely to be a substantial stage of desire for it.

“We have been following Ant and Alibaba for a prolonged time – we imagine these are one of a kind platforms globally in phrases of how they function as wide fiscal services organizations but with a electronic interface with prospects. It is a single of these long term winners that we like at Fidelity.”