November 8, 2018 / 2:22 PM / 6 days ago

Toy maker to offer shares in Portugal tech-led IPO revival

LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese educational toymaker Science4You plans to float shares worth up to 15 million euros ($17 million) next year to stoke further expansion in a fresh sign that small technology firms may revive the country’s anemic IPO scene.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the centre stage of Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

Science4You, which sells most of its products abroad, said on Thursday it wants to list shares amounting to up to 45 percent of its capital - a combination of new shares and shares currently held by its owners - on the Euronext Growth market.

Euronext Growth offers small- and mid-sized companies market access with less stringent listing requirements and fees than the regulated market. It still guarantees protection to investors and is based on the same pan-European trading platform as the main Euronext cash market, enhancing liquidity.

Portugal’s IPO scene had been in a dry spell for most of the past decade following the 2008 world financial crisis and Portugal’s debt and economic woes in 2010-14, but in July, fintech company Raize raised 5.5 million euros to become the first initial public offerer in almost five years.

Holding company Sonae canceled an IPO of shares in its food retail unit Sonae MC, valued at 1.65 billion euros, last month, citing adverse market conditions.

Science4You made its announcement during the annual WebSummit, Europe’s largest technology conference being held in Lisbon for the third time. The venue has put the city and Portugal firmly on the world technology map, helping to stoke a start-up boom.

Science4You makes educational kits such as Soap Factory or Sweet Factory, various build-and-play models from dinosaurs to cars, robots, microscopes and small drones.

It has annual sales of over 20 million euros, and offers its products both online via Amazon, and through many outlets of major retailers like Target, Harrods and John Lewis.

“This operation will give us better visibility and credibility ... will make our brand stronger, more recognized and capable of continuing innovation in this important global industry,” said CEO Miguel Pina Martins, adding that the firm was going through “an important phase of internationalization”.

He expected the flotation to occur in the next few months.

Pina Martins told Reuters in 2017 he wanted to keep boosting sales by over 30 percent a year. The firm received 10 million euros in financing from the European Investment Bank last year, and in 2015, it raised 7 million euros in venture capital.

($1 = 0.8764 euros)

Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Adrian Croft

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