Indian beauty firm Nykaa makes glowing debut with $14 billion valuation

BENGALURU, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Indian cosmetics-to-fashion platform Nykaa surged 96% in a blockbuster debut on Wednesday, fetching the country's first women-led unicorn a valuation of nearly $14 billion.

Shares of FSN E-Commerce Ventures , the company that owns the Nykaa brand, ended at 2,205.80 rupees after debuting at 2,018 rupees in pre-open trade.

The debut price was a 79.4% premium to the offer price of 1,125 rupees and the shares were oversubscribed nearly 82 times last week. read more

Founded by former investment banker Falguni Nayar in 2012, Nykaa became popular by selling cosmetics and grooming products from domestic as well as international brands before expanding into fashion, pet care and household supplies.

"Nykaa is one of the very few profitable new-age companies and the first women-led unicorn that has also attracted lot of investor interest ...," said Sneha Poddar, assistant vice-president, retail research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

"(Its) key strengths lie in its inventory-led business model for the beauty and personal care segment."

Nykaa's investors include private-equity firm TPG, Fidelity and Indian celebrities Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif.

The startup runs its online operation through mobile applications and websites along with 80 brick-and-mortar stores in India, as of Aug. 31.

At a valuation of nearly $14 billion, Nykaa exceeded Indian food delivery startup Zomato Ltd's (ZOMT.NS) stellar $13.28 billion debut in July.

"Nykaa has a seen a strong listing due to positive market sentiment... However, the startup's valuations look expensive at these levels despite factoring in strong long-term growth prospects," said Ajit Mishra, vice-president-research at Religare Broking.

In a sharp contrast to investor enthusiasm for Indian startups, Indian fintech firm Paytm saw tepid demand for its shares earlier in the day, crawling towards full subscription in the final hours of its issue period. read more

The Ant Group-backed (688688.SS) company, whose public offering is India's largest ever, is set to debut on Nov. 18, while SoftBank-backed (9984.T) firms hotel aggregator Oyo and logistics provider Delhivery are lined up for a listing soon.

($1 = 74.3325 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra and Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur

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