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Russian online retailer Ozon raises $1 billion in U.S. listing

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian online retailer Ozon raised nearly $1 billion from its New York share listing on Tuesday, pricing the deal above initial guidance as investors scrambled to capitalise on Russia’s e-commerce boom.

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

Sales at Ozon, which has more than 11 million active buyers and holds a near 7% share of Russia’s e-commerce market, have boomed this year as coronavirus lockdowns have forced a switch to online shopping.

“This is an entirely new world; we live in a new reality. Everything online becomes a new normal and is highly valued,” one Russian investment banker said.

Ozon’s $990 million initial public offering (IPO) is Russia’s biggest since the $1.5 billion IPO in 2017 by En+ Group, which manages tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium and hydropower businesses.

The IPO results put Ozon’s valuation at about $6.2 billion, a financial market source said.

Russian conglomerate Sistema and a Baring Vostok group of funds each owned a 45% stake in Ozon before the listing, which was priced at $30 per American depository share (ADS), above the target range of $22.50 to $27.50.

Strong demand also prompted Ozon to increase the number of shares on offer from an initial 30 million, excluding a green shoe option, reducing the Sistema and Baring Vostok stakes to 33.1% each.

The shares are due to start trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and in Moscow later on Tuesday.

Ozon is targeting strong growth in the coming years, pointing to what it says is Europe’s fourth biggest retail market but with e-commerce penetration of only 6% last year, compared with 27% in China.

Russian retailers have significantly cut delivery times over the country’s 11 time zones in recent years, helping e-commerce to grow by as much as 51% year on year in the first half of this year.

The country’s e-commerce market is expected to be worth 2.1 trillion roubles ($28 billion) this year, according to Ozon’s IPO prospectus.

Privately owned Wildberries is Russia’s leading e-commerce company with a 15% market share.

($1 = 75.8675 roubles)

Reporting by Olga Popova, Anastasia Teterevleva, Maxim Rodionov and Alexander Marrow; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Goodman

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