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IPOs

Kakao Pay eyes August listing, seeks to raise near $2 bn

Sister companies Kakao Pay and KakaoBank are set to go public just one week apart

By Jul 02, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao Pay eyes August listing, seeks to raise near  bn


South Korea-based Kakao Pay Corp. is set to make a trading debut on the country's main bourse next month -- just a week after its sister company KakaoBank Corp. The consecutive listings have drawn much attention with industry watchers staying tuned to see if both affiliates will have successful initial public offerings.

Kakao Pay submitted its registration statement to the Financial Supervisory Service on July 2 -- just five days after it won preliminary approval for the listing from the Korea Exchange, according to investment banking industry sources. 

Kakao Pay is speeding up the IPO process because it needs to adhere to the US Securities and Exchange Commission's 135-day rule to attract foreign investors. The US SEC requires companies to complete their IPOs within 135 days of drafting their financial statements, which are part of the registration statements provided to foreign investors.

Kakao Pay is looking to raise between 1.5 trillion won and 1.9 trillion won ($1.7 billion) via the IPO. The proposed price band is between 73,700 won and 96,300 won, and Kakao Pay's market capitalization is expected to reach between 9.8 trillion won and 12.8 trillion won upon listing.

Kakao Pay, the fintech arm of platform giant Kakao Corp., is planning to go public in early August, just a week after KakaoBank, which is seeking to raise up to 2.6 trillion won.

KAKAO AFFILIATES' IPOS IN THE LIMELIGHT

The listings of Kakao Pay and KakaoBank are drawing attention as it is a first for major affiliates of the group to make a trading debut consecutively on the major bourse, Kospi.

Industry watchers have interpreted the back-to-back IPOs as a sign of confidence that Kakao believes the two listings could raise up to almost 5 trillion won. Other factors behind the IPOs are that Kakao has seen its share price surge recently alongside the market's growing interest in fintech platforms. 

Some observers also say that Kakao timed the listings to occur around the "IPO superweek" in late July given that investors will be paying close attention to the lineup of mega-IPOs during that period.

KAKAO PAY VALUATION ABOVE MARKET CONSENSUS

Earlier this year, brokerage firms estimated Kakao Pay's enterprise value to hover around 10 trillion won, but the techfin company has set its target at 16 trillion won -- above market consensus. Considering that Kakao Pay was valued at around 600 billion won when it spun off from Kakao in 2017, the company's valuation has surged over 25 times in four years.

Kakao Pay's increased valuation is owing to techfin companies becoming dominant players in the global payment market. For example, online payment platforms such as PayPal were included in Kakao Pay's comparable company analysis.

Also, the company has been growing quickly as it expects to break even this year. In 2020, Kakao Pay's annual transaction volume reached an all-time high of 67 trillion won. It is expected to reach around 100 trillion won this year. During the same period, the company's revenue doubled to 284.4 billion won while its net loss dropped by one-third to 17.9 billion won.

Kakao Pay will conduct bookbuilding for institutional investors at the end of July followed by public subscriptions for retail investors. Its lead IPO managers are Samsung Securities, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Daishin Securities is the joint bookrunner.

Write to Ye-jin Jun at ace@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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