Shares in Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao sizzle on Hong Kong debut

Shares in Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao sizzle on Hong Kong debut
PHOTO: Facebook/HaiDiLao Singapore

HONG KONG - China's premier hotpot chain Haidilao International soared as much as 10.3 per cent in early trading on its Hong Kong debut on Wednesday (Sept 26) after raising nearly US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) in its initial public offering.

Shares opened at HK$18.80 (S$3.28), up from an IPO price of HK$17.80 which was already at the top end of its target range, and reached HK$19.64 at one point.

The Sichuan hotpot operator is known for its good customer service - a rarity in China - with queuing diners provided with snacks, tea and even manicures.

The restaurant operator said it would use proceeds from the offering to push its global expansion, repay loans and improve food safety-related technology.

The chain has run into trouble before, with a Beijing outlet under fire last year over allegations of a rat-infested kitchen and dirty dishes.

Zhang Yong, 47, founded the chain in 1994 after years working in a tractor factory in southwest Sichuan province. Zhang earned 14 million yuan (S$2.8 million) stewarding the company last year, according to a company prospectus.

The chain has kept to its roots and boiling chili pepper-laden water to cook frozen meat remains a fan favourite.

It has expanded rapidly, adding more than 30 restaurants per year since 2015.

Revenue has also jumped, with its 341 restaurants earning 647 million yuan on sales of 7.3 billion yuan for the six months ending in June.

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