A consumer chooses Blue Moon detergent at a supermarket in Yichang, Hubei province. [Photo by Liu Junfeng/for China Daily]
Share prices of Chinese mainland detergent maker Blue Moon Group Holdings Ltd, which raised nearly HK$9.8 billion ($1.2 billion) from an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, rose by nearly 13.07 percent.
Blue Moon, which was backed by private equity group Hillhouse Capital, sold 747.1 million shares through its IPO. The company's shares were priced at HK$13.1 at the top-end of the IPO, indicating that the company would have raised nearly HK$9.83 billion.
Shares of the Guangzhou-based firm opened for trading at HK$15.3.After the listing, its shares had an intraday low of HK$14 and a high of HK$16, before closing at $HK14.8.
Blue Moon makes laundry detergent, liquid soap and bathroom cleaners, according to its prospectus. The company earned a net profit of HK$302 million during the first six months of this year, up nearly 40 percent on a yearly basis.
The company plans to spend more than half of the IPO proceeds on building up its sales and distribution networks and a third of the money raised in expanding its production capacity, according to its prospectus.
Jason Yu, general manager of fast-moving consumer goods research firm Kantar Worldpanel China, said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there was strong investor demand for consumer brands such as Nongfu Spring and Perfect Diary.
He said anti-bacterial cleaning products such as Blue Moon saw resurgent interest from investors due to the growing demand for such products.
"Blue Moon has earned higher gross profits than other new entrants largely due to its deeper market penetration, distribution channels in lower-tier cities and competitive prices," said Yu.
Founded in 1992, Blue Moon's liquid laundry detergent, liquid soap and concentrated liquid laundry detergents had the biggest market share in their respective sectors within China between 2017 and 2019, according to a report by research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The Blue Moon offering joins a recent surge of share sales in Hong Kong as the year comes to a close. JD Inc's health unit soared 56 percent on its first day of trading after raising $3.5 billion in its initial public offering.
China's No 2 smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp raised about $4 billion from a combined top-up placement and a convertible bond sale last week, Hong Kong's largest such deal on record. Pop Mart International, a Beijing-based trendy toy maker, saw its shares rise by as much as 100 percent during its debut on Dec 12.
Blue Moon brought in six cornerstone investors for its IPO, including BOCHK Asset Management Ltd and Veritas Asset Management, which have subscribed to about HK$1.8 billion of the shares.
However, the future growth of Blue Moon will be reliant on the continuous expansion and segmentation of its product portfolio through innovation and brand building, if it wants to become the Chinese equivalent of Procter & Gamble, said Yu.