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Shein close to kickstarting £50bn London Stock Exchange float plans – reports

Shein could file an IPO prospectus with the Financial Conduct Authority as soon as this week, Sky News reported.
Shein could file an IPO prospectus with the Financial Conduct Authority as soon as this week, Sky News reported.

Fast-fashion retailer Shein could kickstart its plans for an IPO in London as soon as this week and set in motion what would be one of the London Stock Exchange’s biggest deals in over a decade, according to reports.

The Chinese-founded Gen-Z favourite, which has been meeting with London Stock Exchange bosses in recent months, is on the cusp of filing an IPO prospectus for approval with the Financial Conduct Authority, Sky News’ Mark Kleinman reported.

The application could come as soon as this week, though there was a possibility it will be delayed to later in the month, sources told the outlet.

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Any deal will likely fetch Shein a price tag north of £50bn and will be among the biggest floats in London in the past ten years. However, reports of the move have already divided opinion in the City and Westminster due to concerns over its supply chain practices and perceived ties to China.

A report from the advocacy group Public Eye in 2021 sounded the alarm on Shein’s supply chains after finding that workers at six Shein suppliers were subject to punishing 75 hour weeks in factories with blocked corridors and stairways.

In response Shein said it has built an in-house team to monitor supply-chain partners. But a report earlier this month raised fresh concerns over the facilities and methods used to produce the cheap clothing Shein ships around the world.

MPs and campaign groups have called for caution before the London Stock Exchange opens its doors to the firm.

“With Shein’s prices so low the London Stock Exchange needs to ask itself, whose suffering is subsiding those prices?,” Alicia Kearns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and vocal anti-China campaigner, told City A.M. last week.

Shein had initially intended to float in the US but triggered pushback from US lawmakers due to the labour concerns. The company did not respond to a request for comment on the IPO filing.

However, analysts say a float from Shein could kick open London’s IPO market after a barren period in which fresh listings have cratered. Just four firm floated on the London Stock Exchange in the opening months of the year.

“Shein is such a big name in the world of retail that its mere presence on the London market could encourage others to look hard at the UK as a listing venue,” says Dan Coatsworth, an investment analyst at AJ Bell.

Shein says it has a “zero-tolerance policy for forced labour” and is “committed to respecting human rights”.

“We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously and we require our contract manufacturers to only source cotton from approved regions,” the firm told City A.M. in a statement.