Chinese fintech unicorn Lufax in no rush to IPO

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(Image credit: Lufax)

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Lufax is not in a hurry to list on the stock markets, said an executive of its biggest shareholder, Ping An Insurance, during its earnings call, Chinese media reported (in Chinese) on Wednesday.

Ping An Insurance Group deputy CEO Jessica Tan said after Lufax’s latest round of funding, Ping An still holds approximately 41% of its shares. Lufax has access to enough capital and so it has the flexibility to choose the time and place of its initial public offering (IPO). Tan said the online lending platform is not “under urgent pressure to announce its IPO plans” (our translation).

Ping An confirmed rumors of Lufax’s $1.3 billion Series C in its annual financial report on Tuesday, an investment which bumped the company’s valuation to more than $39.4 billion—just short of its original $40 billion target.

Lufax has 40.35 million registered users as of December, a 19.3% increase from the beginning of the year, according to the report. Specifically, in retail lending, Lufax has provided online services to 10.28 million customers, including individuals and small and medium-sized businesses.

The report also shows that Lufax’s loan overdue rate was 2.3% in 2018, which the company said was one-third the rates on other P2P lending platforms.

As of end-2018, Lufax’s assets under management totaled RMB 369.4 billion ($55 billion)—down 20% from the beginning of 2018 mainly due to “an asset management structure adjustment and product cleanup,” according to the report. Loan balances in 2018 amounted to RMB 375 billion ($56 billion), up 30% from a year earlier.

Lufax is one of the largest online lenders in China though it has branched into other wealth management services such as investment banking, especially after authorities began tightening rules around the P2P lending sector, which has suffocated many small lenders.

Because of the regulatory clampdown, Lufax decided to postpone its Hong Kong IPO that could bump its valuation to $60 billion.