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Russian discount retailer Fix Price planning London IPO

Russian discount retailer Fix Price planning London IPO
Russian five-and-dime retail chain Fix Price has said it is considering listing on stock exchanges in London and Moscow, as the group seeks to capitalize on robust growth spurred by rising demand for cheap goods.

The initial public offering (IPO), which could value the company at more $6 billion, would aim to raise at least $1 billion, and would become the biggest listing by a Russian company in London since 2017.

The stock market listing of global depositary receipts is planned for March, with a secondary listing on the Moscow Exchange. The deal will be jointly coordinated by BofA Securities, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and VTB Capital.

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Fix Price, whose business model is similar to that of variety store chain Dollar General, operates around 4,250 walk-in shops in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia and Georgia. The company, launched back in 2007 by businessmen Sergey Lomakin and Artem Khachatryan, also sells low-cost goods online.

The Fix Price founders, plus minority investors Goldman Sachs and Marathon Group, will reportedly sell shares in the IPO. Lomakin and Khachatryan are expected to retain control of the company.

The retailer’s product range includes 1,800 items, such as household goods, cosmetics, and food, which are sold at fixed prices of up to 250 rubles ($3.40), with about 80 percent of goods priced under 100 rubles ($1.40).

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In 2020, the company’s revenue amounted to 190 billion rubles ($2.6 billion), marking a 33-percent growth, along with double-digit EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margins, according to CEO Dmitry Kirsanov.

Meanwhile, its like-for-like sales have grown at double-digit rates every quarter for 16 consecutive quarters.

“With a presence in 78 of Russia’s 85 regions, as well as neighboring countries, and a strong track record of results in our home market, Fix Price is well positioned to pursue expansion both inside and outside of Russia,” Kirsanov said, as cited by Reuters.

The Covid-19 pandemic boosted the customer traffic of the already popular chain, since the spending power of many Russians has dropped significantly during the crisis.

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