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Company News

PREVIEW-Polish e-commerce group Allegro set for $12 bln stock market debut

WARSAW, Oct 9 (Reuters) - E-commerce company Allegro is set to become Poland’s biggest listed firm when it debuts on the Warsaw stock exchange on Monday with an expected market value of around 44 billion zlotys ($11.6 billion), confirming a pick-up in the European IPO market.

European initial public offerings came back with a roar in September with Britain’s The Hut Group pricing the biggest debut on the London Stock Exchange in seven years.

Lithuanian Ignitis Group and Russian Sovcomflot made their debuts earlier this month, but Europe is still lagging a resurgent global IPO market.

Warsaw, which has struggled to attract new listings and seen a decline in turnover, has had just two small IPOs this year. Allegro is expected to attract more companies to the exchange.

“Hopefuly Allegro will revive the corpse. This is crazy what’s going on,” a source familiar with the Allegro deal said last month, when hours after the float details were published it became clear it would easily sell at the maximum price of 43 zlotys per share.

In comparison Ignitis and Sovcomfot both sold at the lower-end of the initial price range.

Allegro is the most recognised e-commerce brand in Poland with its website attracting 20 million visitors a month. It also operates in one of few business areas to benefit from the pandemic turmoil as customers switch to online shopping.

The company, which was founded more than 20 years ago as a home-grown rival to eBay, will likely top Polish video games producer CD Projekt, which is currently the biggest firm on the Warsaw bourse in terms of market capitalisation.

Allegro owners Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa bought it and online portal Ceneo from South Africa’s Naspers for $3.25 billion in 2016.

Allegro plans repay outstanding debt with the proceeds of the IPO, and does not plan to pay out dividends in the near future.

$1 = 3.7914 zlotys Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Additional reporting by Anna Koper and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Edmund Blair, Kirsten Donovan

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