MOSCOW (Reuters) - E-scooter company Whoosh is planning to raise about $170 million by listing shares on the Moscow Exchange this year in the first Russian initial public offering (IPO) since the conflict in Ukraine began, two sources close to the deal told Reuters.
At least 10 companies from commodities to the financial and retail sectors were looking to go public in 2022, advisers and bankers said late last year, but Russia sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February has largely thwarted those plans.
Whoosh is hoping to raise about 10 billion roubles ($167 million), the sources said, at a valuation of about 40 billion roubles. They declined to be named because the information was not yet public. Forbes Russia first reported Whoosh’s intention to list earlier this week.
Whoosh said it was considering various options but did not comment further on the matter.
“Like any successful company, Whoosh is considering various strategic options for development, including opportunities on capital markets, however it is premature to speak about any concrete plans,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Whoosh has hired SberCIB, the investment arm of dominant lender Sberbank, as a bank on the deal, one of the sources said.
Sberbank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The deal should benefit from the company’s growth, profitability, a recognised consumer brand that can attract retail investors, and the relatively small size of the offering, one of the sources said.
“All the building blocks are there to try and open the market with this particular transaction,” the source said.
Whoosh operates in almost 40 locations across Russia and its electric scooters are a common sight around Moscow.
The city’s transport department on Monday said 2 million people actively use scooters in Moscow and the number of trips made each year is expected to jump to 20 million in 2022 from 8.6 million last year.
The company’s founders own about a three-quarters equity stake, with Ultimate Capital holding 12.9% and VIM Investments holding 13.7%.
Whoosh’s revenue jumped 63% in the first half of this year to 3.2 billion roubles, compared with the same period of 2021. For all of 2021, revenue was almost five times higher than the year before.
Net profit fell in the first half of 2022 to 385 million roubles, while the number of trips jumped 84% to 20.3 million.
($1 = 59.8500 roubles)
Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Edmund Klamann
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