Russia's Ozon to acquire Oney Bank in boost to financial services

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the pick-up point of the Ozon online retailer in Moscow, Russia March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian online retailer Ozon has signed an agreement to expand its financial services operations with the acquisition of Oney Bank in a cash deal of around $10 million, the company said late on Monday.

Ozon runs one of Russia’s largest e-commerce platforms using couriers, pickup points and parcel lockers.

It said it was acquiring 100% of Oney’s charter capital from Sovcombank, Russia’s third biggest private bank and among the country’s top 10 by assets.

Oney Bank LLC provides financial services in Russia and is a former subsidiary of France’s Oney Bank SA. Sovcombank acquired 100% of its charter capital from retailer Auchan Group in January.

Ozon debuted on the Nasdaq late last year and last month reported a 144% jump in 2020 transaction volumes to 197.4 billion roubles.

EBITDA was negative, but the firm is seeking to capitalise on the hefty growth potential in Russia’s fragmented e-commerce sector, with its own banking licence forming part of its strategy.

Ozon will also continue to actively cooperate with other banks and fintech companies to finance its loan book and develop new products and services for the benefit of customers and merchants on its platform, it said in a statement.

Citi analysts rated the transaction as neutral/high risk, describing it as a beneficial move for Ozon as other players in the market are investing heavily.

“Fintech services could provide incremental revenue opportunities as well as support growth of its e-commerce business,” the analysts said in a note.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow