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Hong Kong consumer lender PrimeCredit explores sale

[HONG KONG] PrimeCredit Ltd, a Hong Kong consumer credit company, is exploring a sale of the business, according to people familiar with the matter.

PrimeCredit is working with HSBC Holdings Plc as it prepares for a potential sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The company is aiming for a valuation of US$500 million to US$1 billion, the people said.

Sale considerations are at a preliminary stage and a formal auction may not kick off until there's an assessment about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the business, the people said.

PrimeCredit focuses on the origination of personal loans and credit cards in Hong Kong, and it also counts a customer base in southern China with a hub in Shenzhen. It typically lends to borrowers who don't meet traditional loan criteria. The company is well-known for its advertising campaign in Hong Kong, branding the business around characters called "PrimeCredit Brothers."

A consortium led by China Travel Financial Holdings Co, along with Pepper Group Pty and York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC, completed the purchase of PrimeCredit from Standard Chartered Plc in 2015. The value of the deal was more than US$600 million, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Representatives for HSBC and Pepper Group declined to comment, while representatives for China Travel Financial, PrimeCredit and York Capital didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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