EXCLUSIVE Russian developer Samolet targets New York listing in 2023

A street sign, Wall Street, is seen outside New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton//File Photo

MOSCOW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Moscow-listed developer Samolet Group plans a secondary public offering in 2023 and would choose New York if it can convince investors it is a technology firm rather than just a builder, CEO Anton Elistratov said.

After a three-year drought on the Russian initial public offering market, Samolet became the first non-state company to list shares in 2020, opening the way for a continued IPO drive next year.

Elistratov said his "optimal model, scenario" envisaged changing the perception of his business from a traditional residential property developer to a property technology, or proptech company.

"And then in 2023, we can carry out the SPO (secondary public offering) in New York," Elistratov told Reuters.

The other option would be a secondary listing on the Moscow Exchange (MOEX.MM), which has advantages over a foreign listing, including a better chance of higher bids, Elistratov said.

Samolet, named after the Russian word for aircraft, expects the listing in the spring of 2023 to increase its free float to 30%-35% from over 10%, he said.

In October 2020, Samolet free-floated 5% of shares in a Moscow IPO and the share price has since jumped nearly 400%, supported by the company's financial results.

Samolet's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 179% to 21.6 billion roubles ($288.16 million) in the first nine months of 2021, unaudited management accounts showed.

The company plans to double its EBITDA in 2023 versus this year, Elistratov said.

Samolet is Russia's No.1 developer by the size of the land bank.

Rather than build homes, it hires constructors and itself focuses on high-tech solutions to create eco-systems around the real estate it sells and provide residential quarters with services such as cafes, co-working spaces, schools, supermarkets and roads.

Elistratov said the company studied its peers' experience in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and launched its own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that helps manage dozens of projects online.

"The ERP system tracks how much time a person spent at the construction site and if the daily plan was fulfilled. We have drones flying over construction sites that scan the size of our completed work and compare it against models," Elistratov said.

"Our know-how is to try implementing the things that are present in higher real-estate grades and other countries in the economy segment here."

($1 = 74.9575 roubles)

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Barbara Lewis

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