Russian IT group Astra successfully raises $36mn with IPO in Moscow
Russian IT group Astra has successfully completed an IPO on October 13, raising RUB3.5bn ($36mn) through the sale of shares at a price of RUB333 each, Prime reports.
The IPO prioritised small bids from retail investors, reflecting the company's commitment to broadening its investor base.
The offer price was determined by Astra's existing shareholders, setting it at the upper end of the price corridor. This pricing resulted in a market capitalisation of RUB69.9bn for the company.
The IPO included 10.5mn shares from selling shareholders, totalling RUB3.5bn at the IPO price. Additionally, RUB350mn worth of shares were allocated for possible stabilisation during secondary trading for up to 30 days after trading commencement.
Astra reported that the demand for its shares exceeded the offer by more than 20 times, particularly at the upper end of the price corridor. The IPO attracted over 100,000 new investors. Following the IPO, Astra will have a free float of 5%.
Ilya Sivtsev, the general director of Astra, highlighted the significance of this milestone, noting that more than 1,400 employees of the company have now become shareholders in Astra.
Previously the analysts valued Astra at RUB30bn-RUB60bn, but some analysts such as Alfa Bank put the valuation as high as RUB70bn-RUB98bn.
As followed by bne IntelliNews, prior to the military invasion of Ukraine the Russian equity market was going through an IPO boom, in part fuelled by the retail investment revolution. But as the barrage of Western sanctions cut off Russian issuers from the global financial markets, the offerings have dropped dramatically.
In October 2022 the secondary public offering (SPO) of Russian cyber and information security solutions developer Positive Technologies failed to attract sufficient demand from investors. In December the only post-invasion IPO was held by Russian e-scooter-sharing service Whoosh.
The IPOs reportedly prepared for 2023 and for 2024 are dominated by IT and tech companies such as Softline, IKS Holding (data storage and transfer, information security) and Selectel (data and cloud storage solutions).
Astra Group includes several legal entities, including Rusbitech-Astra (developer of Astra Linux operating system), Rubekap (developer of RuBackup data backup and recovery system), Rupost (developer of RuPost Russian mail server for organisations) and others.
In 2022, Astra's revenue increased 2.5-fold year on year to RUB5.4bn, EBITDA grew 2.7-fold to RUB2.9bn and net profit 2.8-fold to RUB3bn.
The CEO Sivtsev owns 15% of Astra Group JSC, 5% is held by Svetlana Novoseltseva, while other shareholders are undisclosed. Previously Denis Frolov, who together with Sivtsev also owned Varton Group (lighting equipment manufacturer) and indirectly a controlling stake in Baikal Electronics (developer of Russian processors of the same name), was named as the owner of 80% of Astra Group, according to RBC.
Lately, Russian businesses have been actively adopting solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), while the government is also incentivising the use of these technologies.
Engaged in sweeping transformations since the death of dictator Islam Karimov just seven years ago, Uzbekistan is seeing first results in the investment they’ve made to boost their IT sector.
The quality of the internet has been severely compromised by restrictions placed on the market.
Activists were openly critical of Serbia’s government, which NGOs say has a track record of deploying spyware and other digital surveillance tools.
Officials say that it will make government spending more transparent.
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