On 16 January 2023, Fosun High Technology, the domestic operating entity of Fosun International Limited (Fosun International, HKG: 0656), and eight domestic banks held a syndicated loan signing ceremony at the Bund Finance Center, Shanghai. According to the agreement, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Bank of Communications as joint lead banks, and China Minsheng Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and as participating banks will jointly form a syndicate to provide Fosun High Technology a loan totaling RMB12 billion.
It is reported that this is the largest private enterprise loan led by five major state-owned banks in cooperation with policy banks and joint-stock banks since the Central Economic Work Conference explicitly proposed in mid-December last year to encourage and support the development of the private economy and private enterprises.
The market is generally in the view that the syndicated loan is not only of great significance to Fosun, but it also plays a positive role in improving public expectations and boosting confidence for development for private enterprises in Shanghai and even the entire country.
According to the Company’s official release, Guo Guangchang, Chairman of Fosun International said that this signing has further deepened the cooperation between Fosun and banks, broadened financing channels, and consolidated liquidity support for business development.
Before the RMB12 billion syndicated loan was officially completed, on 13 January, Fosun High Technology successfully completed bookbuilding for the RMB1 billion super & short-term commercial paper “23 Fosun High Technology SCP001” with a term of 180 days and a coupon rate of 6.99% per annum. The super & short-term commercial paper is Fosun High Technology’s first issuance since its return to the public market at the end of April 2022.
Market analyst pointed out that the successful issuance of the super & short-term commercial paper and the smooth completion of more than RMB10 billion syndicates loan reflect financial institutions and investors’ confidence in the stabilization of Fosun’s capital and their endorsement of Fosun’s strategy of streamlining the organization and focusing on its core businesses.
Over the past six months or so, Fosun’s series of divestment actions in the capital market have gained widespread attention. During the period, companies under Fosun significantly reduced their shareholdings in Nanjing Iron and Steel United, Jianlong, Zhaojin Mining, Tsingtao Brewery, Jinhui Liquor, Zhongshan Public Utilities, Sanyuan, and COFCO Engineering & Technology. According to incomplete statistics, Fosun’s accumulative return of capital has reached tens of billions of yuan. In addition to this syndicated loan and the super & short-term commercial paper, Fosun’s capital has been further consolidated.
In recent years, Fosun proposed to position itself as a global innovation-driven consumer group. In the past six months or so, Fosun has significantly accelerated its pace of focusing on its core businesses in the family-oriented consumer sector. Based on recent positive news, it can be seen that this strategic adjustment has already achieved results, and Fosun’s Health, Happiness, Wealth and other family-oriented consumer sectors have shown a strong recovery momentum.
Taking Fosun Tourism Group in the Happiness segment as an example, on the New Year’s Day this year, Atlantis Sanya, FOLIDAY Town Lijiang and other businesses have all performed better than the same period in 2022, and many Club Med resorts in China recorded close to 100% occupancy. In the global market, Club Med’s bookings in the first half of 2023 have greatly exceeded the same period in 2019 before the COVID-19 epidemic.
Regarding Fosun Pharma in the Health segment, its anti-epidemic vaccine and drug continue to attract great attention. COMIRNATY, including the monovalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2) and the bivalent vaccine which can protect against the Omicron variant, was officially registered as a drug/product (biological product) in Hong Kong SAR on 20 December 2022. Fosun Pharma has also opened up vaccinations to people including Mainland Chinese residents. As regards Azvudine, the oral medication for COVID-19, it is now included in the medical insurance scheme in 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions across the country, and is available in grassroots medical institutions in many provinces. The accessibility of Azvudine has been greatly enhanced.
Based on its solid financial performance and strong potential for rebound, domestic and overseas securities firms have recently issued research reports, assigning Fosun International an “overweight” rating. On 12 January, Nomura Orient International Securities published a research report and mentioned that Fosun International currently has sufficient cash flow, the short-term liquidity problem has been resolved, the future leverage ratio is expected to be reduced, and the capital structure will continue to be optimized; at the operational level, Fosun will firmly focus on its core businesses in the family-oriented consumer sector. With the continuous optimization of China’s epidemic prevention policy, the firm expects Fosun to achieve better performance.
Previously, China International Capital Corporation (CICC) and China Industrial Securities have published research reports successively and expressed optimism about Fosun’s strategy of streamlining the organization and focusing on its core businesses.
“In the medium and long term, we believe that the valuation method of Fosun International is expected to gradually shift from using the NAV of the group to using the PE of the large consumer company. As a result, Fosun is expected to usher in a rise in the central level of long-term valuation,” CICC mentioned in the research report.