* Russian web group preparing for additional listing - CFO
* Firm forecasts slowing revenue growth for 2014
* Says core profitability will be maintained
By Anastasia Teterevleva and Megan Davies
MOSCOW, Feb 20 London-listed Russian Internet
group Mail.Ru plans to also list its shares in Moscow
in the near future, its chief financial officer said on
Mail.Ru went public in London in November 2010, listing
global depositary receipts and raising $912 million.
The additional listing will be a secondary placement of
shares supported by three major strategic shareholders, CFO
Matthew Hammond said. A Russian listing can help employees trade
stocks and boost liquidity, he said.
"It was the topic of the discussion of the board yesterday
and the board in principle has approved that," Hammond said on a
conference call for analysts. "So I think we will be looking to
move forward with that certainly in the near term."
It was unclear whether the offering would be only to
strategic investors or to the public.
Mail.Ru also said on Thursday revenue growth for 2014 would
slow from the previous year, but core profitability would be
Russia became Europe's largest Internet market in 2011 after
several years of rapid broadband development, but growth in many
online businesses such as Internet advertising has since slowed.
Part-owned by Russia's richest man Alisher Usmanov, Mail.Ru
operates popular Russian-language social networking sites as
well as email and online games platforms.
The company forecast revenue growth of 22-24 percent, driven
by growth in advertising and games, but below the 29.6 percent
revenue growth it reported for last year to 27.4 billion roubles
"On balance we believe Mail's operating story remains strong
and the risk to both ours and consensus earnings is on the
upside," analyst David Ferguson at Renaissance Capital said in a
The company said it benefited from a deal struck with
Russian web search firm Yandex last year under which
Yandex shares advertising profits with Mail.Ru in exchange for
Yandex's advertisers being given access to Mail.Ru's users.
Yandex also on Thursday reported an expected slowing in
revenue growth. [ID nL6N0LP1DM]
While Mail.Ru expects revenues will slow in 2014, it said it
would maintain core profitability with EBITDA - earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - margins of 53-54
percent, slightly below the 55.1 percent recorded last year.
Net profit for 2013 rose 36.1 percent to 11.4 billion
roubles, year-on-year, while its net cash balance at the end of
the year was 31.3 billion roubles ($877 million) and it had no
Analysts have been expecting Mail.Ru to use its cash to pay
a special dividend.
"Today's release contains no news about a special dividend
payment and we believe the company's first aim is to complete
the disposal of its remaining (around) $220 million stake in
QIWI," said analyst Ferguson.
Mail.Ru is expected at some point to sell a stake it holds
in Russian payment transfer company QIWI, which went
public on the Nasdaq last year.
Mail.Ru also said it would transfer $45 million to its
employee benefit trust for a programme to buy its global
depository receipts in 2014.