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Russian online retailer Ozon targets $1 billion in U.S. IPO

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian online retailer Ozon Holdings aims to raise nearly $1 billion in a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) to capitalise on an e-commerce boom in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Like most e-commerce firms, Ozon has seen online orders surge as pandemic restrictions have kept people at home.

In a regulatory filing, privately-owned Ozon said it planned to issue 30 million American depositary shares (ADS) at between $22.50 and $27.50 each, raising up to $825 million.

If underwriters buy up to 4.5 million more ADS, Ozon might raise as much as $949 million, it said in the updated prospectus submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC).

Three financial market sources told Reuters the books for Ozon’s base-case IPO were already covered on Wednesday, with bids worth $825 million coming from the Russian investors.

The company, in which Russian conglomerate Sistema and private equity firm Baring Vostok each have 45% stakes, plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “OZON”.

It is also considering a technical listing of its ADS in Moscow along with or shortly after its U.S. IPO.

Sistema and Baring Vostok would buy shares worth $67.5 million each in concurrent private placements at a price per share equal to the IPO price per ADS, the prospectus said.

After the deal, Ozon’s new investors would own 19% of its shares, provided that the underwriters exercised their option to purchase additional ADSs in full, the prospectus said.

The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdowns helped Russia’s e-commerce market to grow by 51% year-on-year in the first six months of 2020, the prospectus said, with full-year growth seen at 34%.

Ozon, which aims to use the IPO proceeds to expand, plans to close the books on Nov. 23, the financial market sources said.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Olga Popova, Oksana Kobzeva and Katya Golubkova in Moscow; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter

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