SF Holding aims to pay US$2.3b for controlling stake in HK's Kerry Logistics

ONE of the largest Chinese package-delivery services SF Holding is seeking to acquire control of tycoon Robert Kuok's Kerry Logistics Network Ltd in a HKD17.6 billion (US$2.3 billion) deal.

The Chinese courier plans to buy a 51.8 per cent stake in Hong Kong-listed Kerry Logistics at HKD18.8 per share, according to a joint statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Kerry Logistics also plans to sell some warehouse assets for HKD13.5 billion and its Taiwan business for TWD$4.5 billion (US$161 million) to its parent company, the statement said.

Kerry Logistics proposes a special dividend of HKD7.28 per share conditional on the completion of the warehouses sale. Shareholders who accept the SF's offer will receive HKD26.08 including the special dividend, representing an 11 per cent premium to the last closing price, according to Bloomberg

Mr Kuok, who is Malaysia's richest person, controls Kerry Logistics through his family holding company Kerry Group and its Hong Kong-listed real estate arm Kerry Properties Ltd. SF Holding will offer cash for the Kerry Logistics stake and plans to keep the company listed in Hong Kong. After the transaction, Kerry Properties's holding in the logistics firm will be cut to about 20 per cent from 40 per cent.

The deal will help SF Holding boost its distribution network and supply-chain services as it gains a footprint across Asia. Kerry Logistics would become the Chinese courier's primary vehicle for international expansion.

The Chinese group owns courier service SF Express, which has benefitted from the rise in online shopping in China fueled by companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.com Inc. In 2019, SF Holding completed the acquisition of Deutsche Post DHL Group's supply chain assets in China for CNY5.5 billion ($855 million).

Kerry Logistics offers air freight, trucking and ocean cargo services as well as customs brokerage and cross-border logistics for e-commerce companies. Its clients include fashion brands, food and beverage distributors, consumer goods companies, electronics manufacturers and other companies throughout the region.

JPMorgan Chase & Co is the financial adviser to SF Holding, while the Kerry Group companies have Citigroup Inc as their financial adviser.

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