Russian e-retailer Ozon eyes nearly USD1B in US IPO

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian online retailer Ozon is looking to raise nearly USD1.0 billion in a United States (US) initial public offering (IPO), according to regulatory paperwork filed on Tuesday.

The online giant, which reported growth of 142 per cent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020, is aiming to capitalise on the boom in e-commerce during coronavirus lockdowns.

According to a prospectus submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Russian retailer will be issuing 34.5 million American depositary shares (ADS) on the Nasdaq stock exchange at between USD22.50 and USD27.50.

Ozon’s main shareholders – the Baring Vostok investment fund and Sistema, a conglomerate controlled by businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov – will be purchasing additional shares worth USD135 million.

The e-commerce giant – frequently dubbed Russia’s Amazon – said it could raise as much as USD948.8 million, according to the prospectus.

A report by the independent Russian news website The Bell suggested that the company could be valued at up to USD5.5 billion, a figure at the higher end of initial predictions by the Wall Street Journal.

Although the date of the IPO has not been set, Forbes Russia reported that it could take place next week.

Ozon is also considering a listing on the Moscow stock exchange.

On Tuesday, Ozon confirmed that it settled an undisclosed corporate dispute with Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, for USD13.2 million.

The fast-growing online retailer will be one of the few Russian companies to get a listing on international stock markets in recent decades.

Russia’s e-commerce market has experience booming sales in recent years and a number of large groups, including Sberbank and China’s Alibaba, have tried to move into the market by teaming up with local Internet giants Yandex and Mail.ru.