Shares in Helens International Holdings rose by 22.9% on their debut at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today, minting a new billionaire from the country’s growing pub business.
Chairman and CEO Xu Bingzhong, 47, owns 861 million shares in Helens that were worth HK$20.9 billion, or $2.7 billion, at today’s closing price of HK$24.30.
Helens operates a chain of 528 bars across China. China had 35,000 bars in 2020, a figure that is expected to increase to 47,900 in 2023, according to figures from Frost & Sullivan. Industry revenue is forecast to grow 18.8% annually and rise to 183.9 billion yuan in 2025.
Revenue at Helens last year was 817 million yuan, tops in China’s bar industry; net profit was 70 million yuan, or $11 million. That stacks up against today’s market capitalization of $3.9 billion. Xu set up the first “Helen’s” bar in 2009, according to the company’s prospectus.
China is home to the world’s second-largest number of billionaires after the United States.
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