– Aquila Acquisition Corp. is set to acquire ZG Group, a domestic online steel trading platform in Hong Kong, despite the company’s continuous losses and high debt.
– ZG Group has potential for growth in the industry’s shift to digital channels, but requires a cash infusion to boost trading volume and reduce debt.
Well folks, we’ve got ourselves a modern steel fairy tale. After a courtship that felt longer than a pandemic lockdown, Aquila Acquisition Corp., Hong Kong’s first special acquisition purpose company (SPAC), has finally found its Cinderella to take to the ball. The belle of the ball, ZG Group, is set to become the first real company to be acquired by a Hong Kong SPAC. Doesn’t it just warm your heart?
Now, this isn’t just any ordinary Cinderella story. The glass slipper in this tale is a domestic online steel trading platform that seems to have a knack for losing money. In the past three years, ZG Group has made continuous losses totaling a whopping $169 million. Just this year, they reported a loss of $6.9 million in the first quarter. That’s more red than a stoplight convention.
But let’s give them some credit. They have been dealing with a steel market that’s been more unstable than a three-legged table. The pandemic, coupled with a downturn in China’s real estate market, hasn’t exactly made it easy. Even China’s economic recovery has been about as fast as a snail in a marathon, leading to a drop in steel prices.
Now, even though they’re in a pickle, ZG Group seems to have a few aces up their sleeve. They’re positioned to capitalize on the industry’s shift to digital channels, which could help reduce transaction costs. In fact, their platform has seen rapid growth since 2019, with steel trading increasing from 8.1 million tonnes to 36.2 million tonnes. The transaction value also saw a rise from $5.3 billion to $24.9 billion. Who knew steel could be so exciting?
However, to grow bigger and boost their trading volume, ZG Group needs a cash infusion. The company’s net debt as of March was a staggering $978 million, with cash and cash equivalents totaling only $69 million. But this is where the knight in shining armor, Aquila Acquisition, swoops in to save our damsel in distress. They’re not alone either. Ten Private Public Enterprise Investment (PIPE) companies have agreed to pump in $77 million into ZG Group, valuing the company at $1.3 billion.
But here’s where the plot thickens. This valuation is on a company that’s still losing money. Talk about a leap of faith. Only time will tell if this gamble pays off and if ZG Group can transition from a steel underdog to a steel titan.
This whole saga is expected to wrap up in the fourth quarter, at which point ZG Group will officially become a listed company in Hong Kong. The company’s major shareholders, led by the three co-founders, will own around 19.1% of the combined company’s stock and voting rights. The deal will also transition ZG Group from a two-class share structure to a single-class one.
In essence, this merger represents an opportunity for ZG Group to bolster their business and secure the necessary capital to ramp up trading volumes. It’s a high stakes game, but with their position in the steel market and growth potential, ZG Group could just be the underdog story we need in these trying times.