Fast-fashion giant set to list for $66 billion

2024-06-04 08:19:11China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Industry experts expect the online fast-fashion giant Shein to start the process to list on the United Kingdom's London Stock Exchange in the coming days, with a value of around $66 billion, making it one of the biggest deals in the exchange's history.

The China-founded, Singapore-headquartered company will likely file the necessary paperwork either this week or next week, the BBC reported.

The initial public offering, or IPO, is expected in the UK because the company faced regulatory hurdles and intense scrutiny in the United States earlier this year when it tried to list there.

The Reuters news agency reported in January that Shein had filed the necessary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a potential New York listing. But the company subsequently hit resistance from U.S. lawmakers over its links to China, at a time of trade tension between Washington and Beijing, Reuters said.

Some U.S. lawmakers had alleged the company that was founded in 2008 had benefitted from forced labor, a claim Shein strongly denied, with a spokesperson telling the BBC the enterprise had "zero tolerance for forced labor". Shein also said it was working hard with suppliers to continually improve the working conditions of employees. The company has also been criticized in the U.S. for alleged environmental practices.

The major London Stock Exchange share sale that is now widely expected because of the resistance encountered in the U.S. would likely start with a confidential filing with the UK's markets regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Colleen McHugh, chief investment officer at Wealthify, said on Radio 4's Today program: "This could be big news for the London stock market — there haven't exactly been many IPOs this year."

Experts said the flotation of Shein, which owns the online UK fashion brand Missguided, would be London's most high-profile share sale for more than a decade, and likely be the second-largest ever, slotting in behind the 2011 stock market debut of the commodities trading and mining group Glencore International.

McHugh said the markets regulator will look at the forced labor claims made in the U.S. and at other allegations, including claims about workers at thousands of third-party suppliers facing poor conditions and long hours.

Sky News said earlier this year that Donald Tang, Shein's executive chairman, had met the UK's finance minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, to discuss the proposed IPO and that Tang had also sat down with other ministers and senior executives from the London Stock Exchange, as well as politicians from the opposition Labour Party, which is widely expected to do well in the UK's upcoming general election.

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all understood to be advising on the proposed IPO listing.

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