Loss-making Ayondo set for Catalist debut

Singapore

LOSS-MAKING Ayondo has registered its offer document to list on Singapore's Catalist board, chief executive Robert Lempka said on Friday.

Its trading debut, slated for March 26, would make the social-trading broker the first financial technology, or fintech, firm to clinch a listing here.

Ayondo offers trading and brokerage services for a broad range of products, including cryptocurrencies. Social trading refers to how users on its platform can copy portfolio choices.

The initial public offering (IPO) will offer 80.77 million shares in all, at S$0.26 apiece. Market capitalisation as at the IPO will be S$130.7 million.

The public can get their hands on 8.9 million offer shares. The rest are placement shares for investors such as fund manager Pheim Asset Management, which Mr Lempka said has subscribed for a chunk of this tranche.

The listing is expected to raise net proceeds of S$18.45 million. Close to half of that, or S$8.5 million, will go towards loan repayment. Another S$5.25 million will be spent on marketing and S$2.1 million on platform enhancement, and S$2.6 million will be used for general working capital.

Putting Ayondo on the public market could be a test of investors' risk appetite. The company reported a net loss of 6.6 million Swiss francs (S$9.1 million) in the first nine months of 2017, on the back of 14.66 million francs in turnover.

Ayondo does not have a fixed dividend policy, and has been in the red since it started its present operations in 2014. Asked about a turnaround timeline, Mr Lempka would say only that he wants to be profitable "soon".

He told a briefing that the IPO would help the firm, which now draws most of its users from Europe, to grow its footprint in Asia. Singapore private equity investor Luminor Capital is its biggest shareholder.

"Singapore is our centre for business development for the Asian region, and we believe that the listing here will help us a lot, actually, to strengthen our brand," he said, citing trust and credibility as benefits.

Mr Lempka also said that marketing spend and local partnerships - such as through white-label networks - will be key to the firm's expansion strategy, especially as Ayondo strives to make in-roads in Asia.

"We are going to use a significant portion of the proceeds to actually market our product further, invest in direct marketing," he said. "At the same time, we are pushing the B2B (business-to-business) product and this is a more sales-driven approach."