Loss Ballooned At China Tavern Chain Helens Amid Lockdowns

Helens International Holdings, the operator of China’s largest chain of bars at the time it went public in Hong Kong last September, said on Friday evening its loss in the first six months of 2022 ballooned as much as 12-fold from a year earlier amid fallout from the Covid pandemic.

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

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

The company went public at an IPO price of HK$19.77 a share, formally turning CEO Xu Bingzhong into a billionaire upon listing. The stock closed at HK$14.90 on Friday, leaving Xu with a fortune worth $1.6 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List.

China officially eked out growth of 0.4% year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter, well before the government’s 5.5% target, as tens of millions in major cities including Shanghai endured home lockdowns owing to the country’s “zero-Covid” policy. Small businesses have been among the hardest hit, including restaurants and hotels (see related post here.)

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

China is home to the world’s second-largest number of billionaires after the United States.

See related posts:

China’s Domestic Tourism Shrinks Amid Covid Lockdowns

The 10 Richest Chinese Billionaires

Asia-Pacific Hotel Investments Rebound; China Slide Holds Back Bigger Gain


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