Sber, the state-controlled financial and digital giant, is considering having some of its digital subsidiaries listed, stated Sber president Herman Gref last week on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, reiterating previous statements, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).
The placement, however, would not take place before 2023, news agency Interfax reported Gref as saying.
Sber’s digital ecosystem includes a myriad of companies in the fields of e-commerce, mobility services, delivery services, foodtech, fintech, entertainment, e-health and more.
“We see good potential in our ecosystem companies,” Gref said.
He conceded, however, that Sber’s strategy is not fully defined yet: “It is quite possible that we will determine our position on this issue over the next year, including identifying those of our subsidiaries that are most ready for a public offering.”
While top Russian tech companies tend to give a priority to listing on Western exchanges – as exemplified by Mail.ru Group, Yandex, Qiwi and Ozon – Gref did not specify which stock exchanges would fit Sber’s companies.
Massive investments, growing losses
In the first half of this year Sber invested some RUB73bn (around $1bn) in its digital ecosystem, as reported earlier this summer. These investments accounted for 11.5% of Sber’s net profit for H1 2021 (RUB630bn).
The company spent as much money on developing these digital companies in H1 2021 as it did during the three preceding years – and it intends to spend several times more in the next three years.
In H1 2021, Sber’s non-financial services generated RUB74.7bn in revenue – three times as much as in H1 2020, 4% of total company revenue – with RUB200bn anticipated for the whole year 2021. E-commerce activities accounted for almost half of these digital revenues, while the O2O joint venture (co-owned by Sber and Mail.ru Group, covering foodtech and transportation services) brought in RUB22.9bn ($313mn) in revenues.
The losses of this ecosystem reached RUB19.2bn ($264mn at today’s exchange rate) in the first half of the year, up 2.7 times year on year, with a RUB14.3bn ($196mn) negative EBITDA.
This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a bne IntelliNews partner publication.