Obuv Rossii steps into the IPO stream

By bne IntelliNews October 30, 2013

Ben Aris in Moscow -

The latest company to throw its hat into the IPO ring is shoemaker Obuv Rossii, as Russian listings turn from a trickle to - if not a flood - then at least a regular stream.

"We intend to float on the Russian exchange before the end of the year," CEO Anton Titov told a press conference on October 30. "The goal is to raise between RUB1.5bn and RUB2bn ($47-62m) on the Moscow Exchange by selling 20%-25% of the stock. [The capital] will be used for expansion."

Investors are likely to be open to the offer, as Obuv Rossii represents a new form of exposure to Russia's thrusting consumer sector growth, especially in the regions, where the bulk of the population live. The company says it hopes to be to shoes what regional supermarket chain Magnit is to grocery shopping for most Russians.

Should the floatation get away, it will be the latest in a string of IPOs and secondary public offerings (SPO) this year, a window for Russian floatations having opened after almost five years of inactivity. In just the last month Tinkoff Credit Systems (TCS) listed in London to raise just over $1bn, and Nomos Bank completed an SPO ahead of schedule, raising RUB19bn.

Earlier this week, state-owned diamond producer Alrosa effectively restarted Russia's stalled privatisation programme as it listed in Moscow raising RUB41.3bn. Analysts say that the backlog of pent up IPOs is worth tens of billions of dollars and more companies are expected to come to market soon.

Obuv Rossii began as a family owned venture set up in 1993 by Titov's father, who rebranded it to Obuv Rossii in 2003. It made its name importing, and then producing, winter boots in Novosibirsk, but since then has expanding the range of shoes and also sells accessories. Since taking over the business, Anton Titov has moved some of the production to China.

The company is unusual in that it has built up its business by focusing on Russia's far flung regional cities and, until recently, largely ignored the more competitive Moscow market, where tastes run to more expensive imported shoes. The number of stores the company operates has risen to 260 in 81 cities, with 75 new outlets opened this year. That leaves Obuv Rossii as the largest in its mid-price segment, Titov claims.

Group revenue was RUB3.3bn in 2012, according to Ernst & Young, a 51% year-on-year increase. Profit, meanwhile, rose 30.2% to RUB397m. Obuv Rossii said earlier this month that it hopes to raise 2013 profit by another 46.2%. "The middle-price segment, where Obuv Rossii operates, is not quite consolidated and it is mainly occupied by small local players. This is why the market has great possibilities for growth. We will launch 100 stores annually over the next five years, and we will raise the revenue to RUB18.5bn by 2018. This will let us raise our market share in the middle-price segment in the medium term" Titov said at the time.

"We have been growing at about 40-50% a year over the last three years," Titov told bne in an interview in May. "The shoe business has been growing extremely fast in general and is now the third largest retail segment in a market worth a total of $25bn." According to Discovery Research Group, the total size of the mid-price segment in 2012 was $10.5bn, accounting for 35% of the entire footwear market.

Titov says Obuv Rossii's "strategic plan for the next five years is to become the clear market leader in the middle price segment of shoe retailing." The IPO is planned to to raise the money to power that expansion. Until now, the company has been forced to raise money from the local regional banks. The company has already expanded its distribution, and is going from setting up its own stores to selling in the burgeoning number of shopping malls popping up all over the country.

Titov estimates he needs to invest $200m over the next few years. Obuv Rossii issued 1.8bn new shares this month in preparation for the IPO, raising its capital to RUB8.8bn. The company already also issued its first bond on the Moscow Exchange - worth RUB700m - in 2011, and plans to issue another RUB6bn in three tranches over the next five years. The first RUB1.5bn issue is due this year.

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