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This Chinese Company’s IPO Could Be the Biggest in the U.S. This Year

October 17, 2016, 5:36 AM UTC
Chairmen of 6 China's Express Companies Deliver In Hangzhou
HANGZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 13: (CHINA OUT) Chairman of ZTO Express Lai Meisong calls the customer to confirm information to deliver goods during the 2016 Global Smart Logistic Summit on June 13, 2016 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Chairman of Sto Express Co., Ltd. Chen Dejun, chairman of YTO Express Yu Weijiao, chairman of ZTO Express Lai Meisong, chairman of YUNDA Express Nie Tengyun, general manager of Best Express Zhou Jian, executive vice president of TTK Express Chen Xiangyang delivered goods on Monday to research and provide customers with better service during the 2016 Global Smart Logistic Summit. The market shares of these 6 China's express companies were more than 70 percent. Chairmen of these 6 China's express companies were couriers before. The theme of the 2016 Global Smart Logistic Summit held by Alibaba Group and CAINIAO "New Connection". (Photo by Xu Kangping/VCG via Getty Images)
Xu Kangping/VCG via Getty Images

Logistics company ZTO Express has set terms for what could be the largest U.S. initial public offering this year and also the biggest by a Chinese company after the $25 billion IPO of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (BABA) in 2014.

ZTO’s IPO later this month, which could raise as much as $1.5 billion, is the latest example of a Chinese company seeking to capitalize on its growth prospects to lure Western investors, while also avoiding the red tape associated with launching IPOs in mainland China.

China is the world’s largest express delivery market, with 21 billion parcels delivered in 2015, according to market research firm iResearch, cited in the IPO prospectus of ZTO. This is approximately 1.5 times the total parcel volume of the United States.

ZTO said in a regulatory filing on Friday that it expected to sell 72.1 million American depositary shares in the range of $16.50 to $18.50.

Sources close to ZTO told Thomson Reuters publication IFR earlier this year the company was eying a U.S. listing for a faster completion and to make it easier for existing shareholders to monetizes their stakes.

A consortium of investors including Hillhouse Capital Management of Hong Kong and private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC invested in the company in 2015.

Founded in 2002, ZTO is a major player in China’s quickly expanding e-commerce market. It delivers parcels for Alibaba and JD.com Inc, among others.

ZTO delivered roughly 14 percent of all parcels in China last year, according to its IPO prospectus.

Sales of ZTO jumped to RMB 6.1 billion ($915.8 million) in 2015, up from RMB 3.9 billion in 2014. Its net income was RMB 1.3 billion ($200.4 million). It has roughly 7,700 network partners and 74 sorting hubs.

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ZTO will use the proceeds from its offering to buy more trucks, expand capacity through the purchase of land, facilities and equipment and for other general corporate purposes.

ZTO intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker ZTO.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group are the lead IPO underwriters.