Beijing/shanghai :Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform, on Friday said it raised around $14 billion in what market watchers called the biggest-ever single fundraising globally by a private company.
The cash will boost Ant’s firepower ahead of a widely expected initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and mainland China as early as next year – though the company has neither publicly set a timetable nor chosen a likely stock exchange.
The exercise amounted to the largest confirmed single fundraising round in history, according to data provider Crunchbase.
Ant Financial, spun off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd before the e-commerce firm’s 2014 listing, has played a major role in shaping China’s financial technology landscape. It oversees the largest mobile payment app in what is increasingly becoming a cash-less society.
In a statement, Ant said the funding included both U.S. dollar and Chinese yuan tranches. The dollar share made up over $10 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Ant listed Singaporean sovereign wealth fund (SWF) GIC Pte Ltd and state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd as well as U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC as participants in the dollar tranche.
Other global investors included Malaysian SWF Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake and General Atlantic, it said.
Ant did not release details of its valuation following the funding round. Reuters reported earlier that Ant was likely to be valued at around $150 billion, making it one of the world’s most valuable financial firms.
“It’s the most uniquely positioned TechFin company in the world,” said Ben Zhou, a managing director of Warburg Pincus, who led the firm’s investment in Ant.
Participants in the yuan tranche were mainly existing shareholders, Ant said. Among them was China-focused private equity firm Boyu Capital, which invested in both the yuan and dollar tranches, said two of the people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as details were private.
Ant declined to comment on specific investors beyond those disclosed in its statement. Boyu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ant, in its statement, said it would use the funds to speed up globalisation plans for its Alipay payment platform and to invest in developing financial technology.
Figures seen by Reuters showed that in five years, Ant expects 65 percent of revenue to come from business-oriented financial technology including assisting banks and other institutions, as well as providing fraud prevention services.
The emphasis on business comes as Ant shifts focus away from consumer finance in China amid increased regulatory scrutiny of financial risk.
Nevertheless, it aims to reach 2 billion consumers globally with its payments network in coming years, backed by investments and strategic partnerships with Southeast Asian payment firms as well as tie-ups in South Korea, Japan and India.
“Now, with the help of our partners, we are going to accelerate our strategy,” said Ant Chief Executive Eric Jing.
Aside from payments, Ant also offers consumer finance products including credit services, wealth management products and micro-loans.
Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, China International Capital Corp, CITIC Securities, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisors to Ant.
US to eliminate Iran oil sanctions waiver for India, 7 others:Report
Washington: The United States is expected to announce that all importers of Iranian oil will have to end their imports shortly or be subject to US sanctions, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The source confirmed a report by a Washington Post columnist that the administration will terminate the sanctions waivers it had granted to some importers of Iranian oil late last year.
US President Donald Trump has been clear to his national security team over the last few weeks that he wants the waivers to end, and national security adviser John Bolton has been working the issue within the administration.
The US reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers Washington is pressuring Iran to curtail its nuclear program and stop backing militant proxies across the Middle East.
Along with sanctions, Washington has also granted waivers to eight economies that had reduced their purchases of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue buying it without incurring sanctions for six more months
They were China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.
But on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce “that, as of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian crude or condensate,” the Post’s columnist Josh Rogin said in his report, citing two State Department officials that he did not name
Frank Fannon, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, repeated the administration’s position that “Our goal is to get to zero Iranian exports as quickly as possible.
“Other countries have been watching to see whether the United States would continue the waivers. Last Tuesday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Turkey expects the United States to extend a waiver granted to Ankara to continue oil purchases from Iran without violating US sanctions.
Turkey did not support US sanctions policy on Iran and did not think it would yield the desired result, Kalin told reporters in Washington.
Washington has a campaign of ‘maximum economic pressure’ on Iran and through sanctions, it eventually aims to halt Iranian oil exports and thereby choke Tehran’s main source of revenue.
So far in April, Iranian exports were averaging below 1 million barrels per day (bpd), according to Refinitiv Eikon data and two other companies that track such exports and declined to be identified.
That is lower than at least 1.1 million bpd as estimated for March, and down from more than 2.5 million bpd before sanctions were reimposed last May. Brent crude futures , the international oil benchmark, were up nearly 2 per cent at USD 73.25 a barrel, on the report that the waivers were to end.
Maruti drives in Baleno with BS VI compliant petrol engine
New Delhi: The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Said it has launched its premium hatchback Baleno with BS VI emission norms compliant petrol engine, priced between Rs 5.58 lakh and Rs 8.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The auto major has also introduced two variants of the car with smart hybrid technology. The trim with 1.2 litre DUALJET, DUAL VVT petrol engine is priced at Rs 7.25 lakh, while the Zeta variant is tagged at Rs 7.86 lakh. As per the company, the models with smart hybrid technology would deliver a fuel efficiency of 23.87 km/litre.
“At Maruti Suzuki, we strive to bring newer, better and environment friendly technologies to our products. Baleno Smart Hybrid with BS VI stands testament to the same. We are confident that the premium hatchback Baleno will present a complete package in line with aspirations of evolving customers,” MSI Senior Executive Director Marketing & Sales R S Kalsi said in a statement.
The company said in order to achieve the stringent emission regulation requirement, it has upgraded both engine hardware and software along with exhaust system.”Baleno is country’s first premium hatchback to be offered with Smart Hybrid technology,” it added.
MSI has sold over 5.5 lakh Baleno units since its launch in 2015. It sold more than 2 lakh units of the hatchback in the last fiscal year.
SpiceJet, Emirates sign MoU for code share partnership
Mumbai: Budget carrier Spicejet announced signing of an initial pact for code share partnership with Gulf carrier Emirates.
The reciprocal partnership will allow opening of new routes and destinations for passengers of the two airlines, SpiceJet said in a statement.
“I am delighted to announce that as part of SpiceJet’s international expansion strategy, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a code share agreement,” SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said in the statement.
SpiceJet passengers from 51 domestic destinations will be able to access Emirates’ network across the US, Europe, Africa and Middle East, it added.
Code-sharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.