ZTO Express Underwhelms in IPO

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ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: ZTO) entered the market below its target in its initial public offering. The stock opened at $18.40 below its price of $19.50, but this was still at the high end of its expected pricing range of $16.50 to $18.50 per American depositary share (ADS).

At the $19.50 price, the 72.1 ADSs, including the overallotment option for an additional 10.815 million, are valued up to $1.62 billion. Each ADS represents one share of the company’s common stock.

The underwriters for the offering are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, China Renaissance, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan.

This is a leading express delivery company in China and one of the largest express delivery companies globally, in terms of total parcel volume in 2015, according to the iResearch Report. ZTO has demonstrated the fastest growth rate among the top five Chinese express delivery companies as of December 31, 2015, with its annual parcel volume growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 80.3% between 2011 and 2015, during which it recorded consecutive annual increases in market share.

ZTO provides express delivery service through its nationwide network, as well as other value-added logistics services. The company has developed one of the most extensive and reliable delivery networks in China, covering over 96% of China’s cities and counties as of the end of June. China’s rapidly expanding e-commerce market, which reached $609 billion in terms of total retail gross merchandise volume in 2015, according to the iResearch Report, has created strong demand for its services.

This company is both a key enabler and a direct beneficiary of China’s fast-growing e-commerce market. It has established itself as one of the largest express delivery service providers for millions of online merchants and consumers transacting on leading Chinese e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba and JD.com. Globally, ZTO provides delivery services in key overseas markets through its business partners, while it is expanding coverage in international express delivery through collaborations with international industry players.

In the filing, the company said:

Our total parcel volume increased from 279 million in 2011 to 2,946 million in 2015 and from 1,185 million in the six months ended June 30, 2015, to 1,913 million in the same period in 2016. Our total parcel volume in the nine months ended September 30, 2016, was 3,015 million, compared to 1,917 million in the same period in 2015. Our revenues increased from RMB3.9 billion in 2014 to RMB6.1 billion (US$915.8 million) in 2015 and from RMB2.5 billion in the six months ended June 30, 2015, to RMB4.2 billion (US$638.8 million) in the same period in 2016. We generated operating profit of RMB600.3 million and RMB1.5 billion (US$230.1 million) and our operating profit margin was 15.4% and 25.1% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. We generated operating profit of RMB579.9 million and RMB1.1 billion (US$159.0 million) and our operating profit margin was 23.3% and 24.9% in the six months ended June 30, 2015, and 2016, respectively.

ZTO intends to use the proceeds from this offering to purchase equipment and expand sorting capacity. The remainder will be put toward working capital and general corporate purposes.

Shares of ZTO were last seen at $17.86, with a range of $17.50 to $18.45 on the day thus far. Also more than 33 million shares have moved.