Loss exploded at Chinese tavern chain Helens amid lockdowns

Helens International Holdings, the operator of China’s largest bar chain at the time of its Hong Kong IPO last September, said late Friday that its loss in the first six months of 2022 had increased 12-fold. compared to the previous year amid the fallout. of the Covid pandemic.

Helens expects a loss of 290 million yuan, or $43 million, to 310 million yuan from a loss of 25 million yuan in the first six months of 2021, the company said in a statement after the closing of the markets. The company, which had more than 500 bars in operation last year, attributed the loss to “the adjustment of more than 100 bars, among other factors (see the filing here).

Six-month revenue will be in the range of about 870 million yuan to 890 million yuan for the period, an increase of about 0.2% to 2.5% from a year earlier, said said Helens.

The company went public at an IPO price of HK$19.77 per share, officially making CEO Xu Bingzhong a billionaire upon its IPO. The stock closed at HK$14.90 on Friday, leaving Xu with a fortune worth $1.6 billion on the Forbes list of real-time billionaires.

China officially recorded 0.4% year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter, well ahead of the government’s 5.5% target, as tens of millions of people in major cities, including Shanghai, have suffered home closures due to the country’s “zero-Covid” policy. . Small businesses have been among the hardest hit, including restaurants and hotels (see related article here.)

Xu established the first “Helen’s” bar in 2009, according to the company’s prospectus.

China is home to the second highest number of billionaires in the world after the United States.

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