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February 4, 2021 2:30 PM, EST

Chinese Package-Delivery Firm SF Holding Eyes Stake in Kerry Logistics

Employees handle packages at an SF Express store in Hong Kong. (Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg News)Employees handle packages at an SF Express store in Hong Kong. (Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg News)

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SF Holding Co., one of the largest Chinese package-delivery services, is exploring a potential investment in tycoon Robert Kuok’s listed logistics business, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Chinese courier is in talks to acquire a minority stake in Kerry Logistics Network Ltd., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Kerry Logistics shares have risen 38% in Hong Kong trading this year, giving the company a market value of about $5.4 billion.

Kerry Logistics is also considering selling some assets to its parent company, the people said. Kuok, who is Malaysia’s richest person, controls the firm through his family holding company Kerry Group and its publicly traded real estate arm Kerry Properties Ltd. Details of a potential transaction are still being discussed, and the structure of the deal could change, the people said.

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Shares of Shenzhen-listed SF Holding have nearly tripled over the past 12 months, helping the company surpass FedEx Corp. in value and giving it a market capitalization of about $75 billion. The group owns courier service SF Express, which has benefited from the rise in online shopping in China fueled by companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc.

SF Express ranks No. 13 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight carriers. FedEx Corp. ranks No. 1 on that list.

There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said. Representatives for SF Holding and Kerry Logistics didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls to Kerry Group and Kerry Properties offices in Hong Kong weren’t answered outside regular business hours.

Kerry Logistics provides warehousing, distribution and supply chain solutions to companies across Asia. Its offerings include airfreight, trucking and ocean cargo services as well as customs brokerage and cross-border logistics for e-commerce companies.

Clients of Kerry Logistics include fashion brands, food and beverage distributors, consumer goods companies, electronics manufacturers and other companies throughout the region. The company also offers package delivery services in seven Asian markets under the Kerry Express brand, according to its website.

Manuel Baigorri, Vinicy Chan and Cathy Chan were the primary contributors to this report.

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