Suning, China’s biggest bricks and mortar retail group and the owner of Italian football club Inter Milan, plans to sell an up to $2.5 billion stake in one of its subsidiaries in a bid to fortify its finances, reported the Financial Times.
Shares in Suning.com were temporarily suspended in Shenzhen on Thursday as Suning said that Zhang Jindong, the billionaire founder of the business, was among a group of shareholders looking to offload up to a quarter of the online subsidiary to industrial investors.
Suning, which is part-owned by Alibaba and owns the Carrefour chain of supermarkets in China, is among a clutch of expansive Chinese conglomerates coming under intensifying market scrutiny over a wall of debt obligations due this year, reported the FT.
Zhang vowed in a speech last week to sharpen the company’s focus on the retail business and shed non-core units. In a stock market filing on Thursday, Suning.com said the planned stake sale would improve the company’s equity structure and advance its long-term strategy.