WARSAW/GDANSK, Poland (Reuters) – Shares in Polish e-commerce group Allegro leapt more than 60% on their debut on Monday, giving the company a market value of almost $19 billion in Europe’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) so far this year.
Founded more than 20 years ago as a home-grown rival to eBay, Allegro is central Europe’s most recognised e-commerce brand and its website is attracting 20 million visitors a month as consumers go online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allegro’s strong start mirrored the performance of some recent IPOs in the United States where shares have shot up as investors showed they were willing to pay for companies with potential for growth.
Last month, British e-commerce firm The Hut Group made the biggest debut on the London Stock Exchange in seven years and Allegro’s successful launch was a further sign the European IPO market is picking up.
However, investor appetite seems to be reserved for tech and growth companies – sectors that corporate Europe is light on compared to the United States, where a number of blockbuster tech IPOs have launched this year.
“The recent pandemic highlighted the value of e-commerce for a consumer, and accelerated e-commerce penetration,” said Ivan Kim, an analyst at Xtellus Capital. “Allegro is a well-established marketplace … and is already quite profitable.”
Shares in Allegro closed the day at 70 zlotys, up 63% from their IPO price of 43 zlotys, which was at the upper end of the guidance range.
Allegro immediately became the most valuable company on the Warsaw bourse, which said the company would replace Commerzbank’s mBank in its index of the 20 biggest companies WIG20