* Allegro becomes Poland's biggest listed company
* Market value surges to almost $19 billion
* Another sign Europe's IPO market is picking up
(Adds information on Allegro entering WIG20 index)
WARSAW/GDANSK, Poland, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Shares in Polish
e-commerce group Allegro leapt more than 60% on their
debut on Monday, giving the company a market value of almost $19
billion in Europe's biggest initial public offering (IPO) so far
Founded more than 20 years ago as a home-grown rival to
eBay, Allegro is central Europe's most recognised e-commerce
brand and its website is attracting 20 million visitors a month
as consumers go online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allegro's strong start mirrored the performance of some
recent IPOs in the United States where shares have shot up as
investors showed they were willing to pay for companies with
potential for growth.
Last month, British e-commerce firm The Hut Group
made the biggest debut on the London Stock Exchange in seven
years and Allegro's successful launch was a further sign the
European IPO market is picking up.
However, investor appetite seems to be reserved for tech and
growth companies - sectors that corporate Europe is light on
compared to the United States, where a number of blockbuster
tech IPOs have launched this year.
"The recent pandemic highlighted the value of e-commerce for
a consumer, and accelerated e-commerce penetration," said Ivan
Kim, an analyst at Xtellus Capital. "Allegro is a
well-established marketplace ... and is already quite
Shares in Allegro closed the day at 70 zlotys, up 63% from
their IPO price of 43 zlotys, which was at the upper end of the
Allegro immediately became the most valuable company on the
Warsaw bourse, which said the company would replace
Commerzbank's mBank in its index of the 20 biggest
companies WIG20 after the Oct. 14 trading session.
'WE ALL NEED GOOD NEWS'
Poland hopes the initial public offering will boost the
exchange which has struggled to attract new listings and seen a
drop in turnover. Polish mobile games firm Huuuge has announced
plans for a stock market listing.
"In these difficult times when we fight with the pandemic
and recession, we all need good news. Allegro's debut is good
news for all of us," Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin told a
Allegro's private equity owners Cinven, Permira and Mid
Europa will want to benefit from the IPO momentum with follow-on
placements as only about 25% of the company was floated, said
Christoph Stanger, co-head of Goldman Sachs's European equity
capital markets business, which helped organise the listing.
"When pricing deals like Allegro, it is more important to
build momentum than to maximize price on day one," said Stanger.
Across Europe, there are numerous IPO deals in the pipeline
for the first half of 2021, as the 2020 season is drawing to a
close and issuers want to avoid any potential market turmoil in
connection with the U.S. presidential elections on Nov. 3,
capital markets bankers have said.
Allegro's IPO comprised more than 23.25 million new shares
and 190.29 million existing ones. Previously, the largest
company on the Warsaw exchange was video games producer CD
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Bank of America,
Citigroup, Santander and BM PKO BP organised the Allegro IPO.
($1 = 3.7841 zlotys)
(Reporting by Anna Banacka in Gdansk, Alan Charlish and Anna
Koper in Warsaw, Abhinav Ramnarayan in London and Arno Schuetze
in Frankfurt; Editing by Edmund Blair, Mark Potter, Susan Fenton
and David Clarke)