Russian logistics firm CDEK plans bond issue of up to $136 mln

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Russia’s largest logistics firm CDEK plans to borrow up to almost $136 million in bonds and is considering an initial public offering in the coming years, spurred on by a boom in parcel volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it told Reuters.

Home delivery of goods shot up in Russia last year as a COVID-19 lockdown kept consumers at home, leading to strong demand for e-commerce services, partially helping online retailer Ozon launch a successful market debut in the United States.

“In 2021, we plan to make a small debut bond issue, and then proceed based on the market situation,” CEO Leonid Goldort told Reuters in emailed comments on Wednesday.

Goldort did not give the exact date for the bond placement by his company, which was founded 21 years ago in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and now handles more than 250,000 parcels a day, second only to Russia’s state postal service.

Goldort said the funds would be used to modernise IT systems and create the company’s own marketplace, CDEK.Market, which is currently being developed and already offers hundreds of non-food items, such as clothing, electronics and building materials.

The company also said it did not rule out the possibility of a public share offering in the next two to three years.

CDEK, which also runs CDEK.Forward, a service that enables Russians to receive packages from U.S. stores Amazon and Walmart, as well as firms in seven other countries, declined to disclose further details of its capital markets strategy.

In 2020, CDEK’s volume of traffic rose 37% compared with the previous year and its warehouse capacity increased by 15,000 square metres to around 100,000 square metres, the firm’s commercial director Maxim Tolstobrov said by email.

“E-commerce is booming in the pandemic. The big players have shown themselves on the market even more and, as a result, we are seeing the active development of logistics companies providing services for online stores,” Tolstobrov said.

$1 = 73.7360 roubles Writing by Alexander Marrow. Editing by Andrey Ostroukh and Mark Potter