May 6, 2020 / 3:56 PM / a month ago

Yandex does not see IPO of Yandex.Taxi joint venture as a priority - report

FILE PHOTO: A driver of Yandex.Taxi online ride-sharing service wearing a protective mask, used as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits inside a car in Moscow, Russia April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A flotation of Yandex.Taxi, a joint venture between Russia’s top search engine Yandex and Uber Technologies Inc, is currently not a priority for the Russian company, its managing director told the Bell news outlet on Wednesday.

Yandex.Taxi, the country’s top online taxi service and the fastest growing business for Yandex, hired investment banks late last year to prepare for its long-awaited initial public offering in the first half of 2020.

But with Russia largely on lockdown since late March due to the coronavirus outbreak, the taxi business has been hit hard, Yandex’s Tigran Khudaverdyan told the Bell, with a recovery not expected in the next two quarters at least.

With the taxi business in a temporary decline, the Yandex.Taxi IPO “is not our priority for now”, Khudaverdyan told the Bell.

He did not provide details on when the company may return to the plan.

Taking a double hit from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices, Russian gross domestic product is seen contracting by 5-6% this year, the most in a decade. Bankers expect few share offerings this year in Moscow, once a lucrative market.

Russia’s Sovcombank, among the top domestic lenders and another company which was considering an IPO this year, is delaying its plans until 2021, its co-owner said last month.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Jan Harvey

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