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   제목: KakaoPay set to ride on 'IPO craze' in Korea

KakaoPay set to ride on 'IPO craze' in Korea


September 28, 2020

By Park Jae-hyuk

KakaoPay is set to ride the ongoing initial public offering (IPO) craze here after selecting KB Securities as its lead underwriter for when it goes public in the first half of next year.

After the strong debut of SK Biopharmaceuticals in July, investors ― specifically retail investors ― presume that KakaoPay's IPO will be a similar success, without giving consideration to KakaoPay's financial fundamentals and other outstanding risk factors.

"There could be several variables including stock market conditions but it is true that we plan to go public in the first half of next year," a KakaoPay spokeswoman said. "We plan to use the money raised to nurture new revenue sources and continue our aggressive business expansion."

Amid an ultra-low interest rate and aggressive stimulus packages by the Moon Jae-in administration to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as rising property prices, both institutional and retail investors are turning toward high-growth potential "BBIG" (bio, battery, internet and game) companies. That raises the possibility that the KakaoPay IPO will be a success.

Three months ago, the mobile payment service provider advertised for an investor relations manager with over three years' experience at listed firms. It is still unclear whether the company will list on the benchmark KOSPI or the tech-heavy Kosdaq.

If the IPO goes as planned, it will be the second Kakao subsidiary to be listed on the stock market following Kakao Games, and the country's first fintech company to do so. Although Kakao Bank's board of directors officially resolved last week to launch an IPO, the internet-only bank is expected go public no earlier than the second half of next year.

Market observers are anticipating that KakaoPay could benefit from the country's IPO boom as Kakao Games did. The gaming firm attracted a record-high 58 trillion won ($49 billion) in subscription deposits, when it was listed on the Kosdaq earlier this month.

KakaoPay's market capitalization is estimated at 9.7 trillion won, according to eBest Investment & Securities. "Amid the rapid growth of the online payment sector thanks to the spread of the pandemic, KakaoPay's growth will be much faster," it said in a recent report.

Kyobo Securities expected KakaoPay will report 75.8 billion won in sales during the third quarter of this year, up 117.6 percent from last year, and 86.3 billion won for the three months ending Dec. 31, up 88.1 percent.

KakaoPay, which had 34 million users as of August this year, officially launched a brokerage arm in February and is preparing to set up a digital non-life insurance company. Its collaboration with Kakao Commerce is also drawing attention given that the mobile shopping platform is mentioned as another Kakao subsidiary that may go public.

Analysts say it's unlikely that the IPO craze will fade soon due to ample liquidity and increased appetite among investors to cash in on stocks though there are worries that it may be a bubble that will inevitably burst.

Excerpts articles from the Korea Times
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