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Ping An's Lufax close to raising funds at US$18b value

[BEIJING] Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lender and broker, is close to completing a round of fundraising valuing the company at about US$18 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company, which recently changed its name to Lu.com, is raising almost US$1 billion from the sale of a roughly 5 per cent stake, said one of the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Chinese and overseas investors participated in the fundraising, which received demand that was multiple times the amount Lufax was seeking, the person said.

China's finance sector is going through sweeping changes after years of government control, with new entrants such as Lufax and Baidu Inc. introducing innovation and lower-priced services. Lufax, run by former McKinsey & Co consultant Gregory Gibb, started four years ago and is officially called Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co.

Lufax was valued at US$10 billion in March, when it raised US$500 million in a private placement.

Representatives for Lufax and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, its biggest shareholder, didn't immediately respond to e- mails seeking comment.

BLOOMBERG