Russia's largest food retailer X5 is discussing plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for its online business, a company official said on Thursday, honouring a pledge to place online expansion at the heart of its latest strategy.
The group's food delivery business - online shop Perekrestok Vprok (Perekrestok.ru) and the express delivery service from its Pyaterochka and Perekrestok stores - could go public within the next two to three years, said Andrei Vasin, the group's head of investor relations.
X5 last month said it expects Russia's online retail market to grow by more than 300% in the next three years and sees its digital business accounting for 5% of group revenue by 2023. Vasin on Thursday estimated the value of its digital business at about $3 billion.
Ozon's successful market debut this week is an argument in favour of an IPO for X5's online business, Vasin said, after the Russian e-commerce company raised nearly $1 billion in a New York IPO and its shares soared more than 40%.
Vladimir Salakhutdinov, X5's strategy and business development director, told Reuters if the company decided not to go for IPOs for Perekrestok Vprok, express delivery market place Okolo, which means 'Near', and logistics service 5Post, they could attract investors via private deals.
He said these three businesses would be made into separate units.
Salakhutdinov also said that X5's overall gross merchandise value (GMV) from online businesses was seen at around 60 billion roubles ($794 million) next year.
Perekrestok Vprok, first in the line for either a private or public deal, is expected to contribute RUB100 billion in GMV in the next three years alone, Salakhutdinov said.
Vasin said that X5's Pyaterochka is expected to register like-for-like online sales up 12-13% year on year in December. He added that the company sees the growth continuing when people stay home for Russia's New Year holidays in early January.
Vasin also said that X5 could raise its dividend payments over the longer term. It plans a total payout of RUB50 billion roubles ($662 million) for 2020.
The company committed to semi-annual dividend payments in 2020 and approved a first interim dividend of RUB20 billion roubles after quarterly results earlier this month.