Kazakh Fintech’s IPO Raises $870 Million Amid Pandemic Boost

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Investors in Kaspi.kz, a Kazakh fintech provider backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., sold $870 million of shares in an initial public offering after increasing the size of the sale and pricing it at the top end of a marketed range due to elevated investor demand for tech-related stocks.

The sale marks a turnaround from last year, when Kaspi delayed an IPO because potential buyers failed to meet the $4 billion valuation the owners weresaid to want at the time. Now the company has successfully marketed an offering that gives it an even higher capitalization of $6.5 billion.

Kaspi.kz priced 25.8 million global depositary receipts at $33.75 each, the company said in astatement Thursday. The company didn’t raise any money from the sale, with all shares coming from holders including Baring Vostok Capital Partners, the private equity firm set up byembattled U.S. investor Michael Calvey; Chairman Vyacheslav Kim; Chief Executive Officer Mikheil Lomtadze; and Goldman.

The shareholders may sell an additional 3.9 million receipts in an over-allotment option. If exercised in full, 15.4% of the company will be available for trading.

Kaspi.kz will start trading in London on Thursday and on the Astana International Exchange on Oct. 21. Kaspi is the first Kazakh lender to sell shares in London since AO Alliance Bank in 2007, before a crisis hobbled the country’s banks for a decade, and the first listing in the Central Asian country in two years.

Like other recent IPO candidates, Kaspi has benefited from a shift to digital services as people stay indoors to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s consumer app, which has 7.8 million monthly users, offers bill payment, an online marketplace, loans, peer-to-peer payments, and a personal finance management tool, Kaspi says.

Although Kazakhstan’s economy has been hit both by the plunge in oil prices and Covid-19 lockdowns, Kaspi’s net income jumped 50% in the first half of 2020 and usage of its mobile app surged 72% in the past year.

The global fintech industry is seeing heightened investor interest as firms seal mega mergers to become more competitive and keep pace with rapidly changing technology. Milan-based Nexi SpA, whose stock has gained 75% since its 2019 listing, this monthagreed to buy SIA SpA to create one of Europe’s biggest payment providers, while France’s Worldline SA in February said it wouldsnap up Ingenico Group SA.

Belgian fintechUnifiedpost Group SA also priced its IPO at the top end of an initial range last month and raised 252 million euros, more than initially anticipated. Investor appetite for stocks such as these is markedly different from those perceived as old-economy offerings.

Military supplierHensoldt AG, Russia’s state-owned tanker operatorSovcomflot OAO and Lithuania’s state-owned electric utilityAB Ignitis Grupe have all priced their offerings at the bottom end of marketed ranges. Camper-van makerKnaus Tabbert AG,China Yangtze Power Co. and Czech firearms producerCeska Zbrojovka Group SE scaled back the size of their offerings amid lackluster demand.

Morgan Stanley, Citi and Renaissance Capital arranged Kaspi’s offering.

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