French second-hand car group Aramis eyeing IPO

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Aramis Group, which specialises in selling second hand cars online, said on Monday it was exploring an initial public offering (IPO) in Paris this year following a boom in used vehicle sales and as it looks to grow across Europe.

The firm - which is 70% owned by Stellantis, the carmaker formed by the merger of France’s PSA and Italian-American group Fiat Chrysler - also announced it was entering the UK market with a majority stake in MotorDepot, which owns the platform.

It did not give financial details for the purchase but said in a statement it would push Aramis’ annual sales to above 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

The group already operates in Spain and Belgium, and has benefited from surging interest in used cars in the COVID-19 pandemic, when people have shied away from other forms of transport.

Its revenues, excluding some Belgian trading activities it plans to discontinue, were up 16% at 818 million euros in its financial year to September 2020.

Stellantis would remain a majority shareholder following a stock market listing, Aramis said, while two of the group’s co-founders would also have stakes.

“An IPO would reinforce the group’s strategic and financial flexibility to capture the significant growth opportunities ahead and accelerate its development across Europe,” the company said.

French cloud computing services provider OVHcloud has also started the process for a potential listing in Paris, a spokeswoman said on Monday, after a slow start to the year for French IPOs.

(The story corrects revenue figure in paragraph 5 to 818 million euros, not 851 million)

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman