Hon Hai Smart Factory Unit to Raise $4.3 Billion in Chinese IPO

May 23, 2018
Hon Hai, which makes smartphones, cloud computing equipment and robots, wants to fund Foxconn Industrial Internet projects in areas from smart manufacturing to fifth-generation wireless technologies.

Foxconn Industrial Internet Co. plans to raise 27.1 billion yuan (US$4.3 billion) selling stock in an initial public offering, kicking off the largest mainland Chinese debut since the 2015 stock market crash.

Shares will be offered at 13.77 yuan apiece, valuing the company at about $43 billion -- larger than eBay Inc. The smart factory unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple Inc.’s most important assembly partner, will float 1.97 billion shares in Shanghai, it said in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Hon Hai, which makes smartphones, cloud computing equipment and robots, wants to spend more than 27 billion yuan funding FII’s projects in areas from smart manufacturing to fifth-generation wireless technologies. The move will position billionaire Terry Gou even more centrally in the global tech supply chain as he tries to move beyond assembling PCs and phones and lessen a dependence on Apple for more than half its revenue.

With sales of 355 billion yuan in 2017, its revenue is about level with Walt Disney Co. or HP Inc. Underwritten by local brokerage CICC, its fundraising is one of the highest-profile mainland Chinese tech listings in years as the government courts a long under-represented sector. Shares in Hon Hai remained largely unchanged in Taipei Wednesday.

The debut will come amid a push to attract capital from Taiwan, a self-governed island over which China claims sovereignty.

Beijing has introduced plans to welcome Taiwanese investment in some of the nation’s most restricted sectors, though pro-independence Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has warned that such moves could suck away much-needed capital.

FII’s debut also dovetails with an effort to drive tech listings on the mainland. Chinese enterprises have long pursued the prestige and capital associated with marquee overseas debuts. But technology businesses from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd. have in recent years outstripped their old-economy peers to become the nation’s largest, and virtually none are traded domestically.

By Debby Wu

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