Poland's answer to Amazon seeks record ecommerce IPOSeptember 14, 2020
Allegro, the leading Polish ecommerce company backed by Cinven and Permira, is planning to go public in what will be the country's largest-ever ecommerce listing.
The company, which will list on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW), is seen as a rival to the likes of eBay and Amazon in its home market and is targeting a valuation between €10 billion and €12 billion (about $11.9 billion and $14.2 billion), according to the Financial Times. The IPO would be the country's largest since insurer PZU raised €2.1 billion in 2010.
The listing will include the sale of new shares worth around 1 billion Polish zlotych (around $270 million). There will also be a secondary component for existing backers and management to sell down their stakes. The proceeds will be used to pay down the business' debt. Allegro has also agreed to a new 5.5 billion zlotych five-year senior secured term loan and a multicurrency revolving credit facility equivalent to 500 million zlotych to refinance its debt.
Earlier this month, Poland's office of competition and consumer protection, UOKiK, launched an investigation into commission fees charged by Allegro. The agency is looking at whether the company is unfairly overcharging sellers.
Like other ecommerce companies, Allegro has seen an increase in activity since the beginning of the pandemic, and the company announced that from June 2020, resellers and retailers would have to pay commission on shipping costs in addition to the prices of items purchased.
Allegro was previously quoted by Reuters as saying that its fees were decided with the goal of building a "fair ecosystem for consumers, sellers and the Allegro platform."
This is not Allegro's first investigation. Last December, UOKiK launched proceedings to determine whether the business had violated antitrust law by favoring its own online shop compared to other sellers by using its relevance algorithm to better position its own products. If found guilty, Allegro will be fined 10% of its turnover.
Alongside Mid Europa Partners, Cinven and Permira have owned Allegro since 2016, when it was bought for $3.25 billion. It has a customer base of around 12.3 million buyers and about 117,000 merchants and reported $5.7 billion in gross merchandise volume for the year ended Dec. 31.
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