May 26, 2024


Kaspi.kz, a mobile app company, launched its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock exchange Friday, raising about $1 billion. On its first trading day, shares of Kaspi.kz debuted 0.5% above its offer price, valuing the company at $17.51 billion.

But the market’s tepid response to Kaspi.kz’s debut, as the S&P 500 hit an all-time high, suggests that investors are still feeling cautious about new stock listings.

It is the largest IPO since Birkenstock’s in October, which was valued at $1.48 billion listing. But the shoemaker is trading below its debut share price.

Kaspi.kz has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2020. Kaspi.kz is also listed on both the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange and the Astana International Exchange.

The company is now looking for more liquidity with its US listing. Since 2020, Kaspi.kz is the third-biggest company that has IPO-ed, following Arm and Kenvue. The company is based in Kazakhstan, which has a smaller GDP than most countries that produce US listings, as Renaissance Capital noted.

What does Kaspi.kz do?

Kaspi.kz was originally founded as a bank in 2008. But the Almaty, Kazakhstan-headquartered company now sells a super app, which provides a range of services that can be found in one place. That includes banking, lending, payments, e-commerce, tax filing, driving license renewals, flight tickets, and more. The company was founded by Mikheil Lomtadze and Vyacheslav Kim.

For the last year ending Dec. 31, Kaspi.kz reported revenue of $2.68 million and net income of $1.24 million. The company currently has 13.5 million customers, according to its filing.

Being in Kazakhstan has given the company an advantage. In its listings, Kaspi.kz said it does not have the luxury of being able to depend on private equity or venture capital money to fund its operations and growth, which meant profitability from the start, “not growth with the ever-shifting promise of making the business profitable at some future point,” according to its listing.

But a Forbes report also questions its business. Kairat Satybaldy is a former investor of Kaspi. He is also a politically powerful nephew of Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev. He claimed to have walked away from Kaspi in 2018, unloading a very similar sized stake to the one owned by Kaspi CEO Lomtadze, whose stake is 23% or around $2 billion.

Super apps

Kaspi.kz is just one of the many super apps on the market. Other popular super apps include Chinese-based WeChat and Alipay, Indonesia-based GoJek, and Grab, a Singapore-based super app.

What will it take to reopen the IPO market?

It may just require several high-profile US-based companies to go public, but any flops out of the gate or selling pressure following these upcoming IPOs — such as Reddit or Circle, a payments technology company — will likely deter others that are currently on file confidently, said Joe Endoso, president of private market investing platform Linqto.

Reddit is looking to go public in the coming months. Fast fashion giant Shein and Kim Kardashian’s brand SKIMS is also looking to go public this year.



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