MOSCOW: 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 300per cent in the next three years and sees its digital business accounting for 5per cent of group revenue by 2023. Vasin on Thursday estimated the value of its digital business at about US$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 US$1 billion in a New York IPO and its shares soared more than 40per cent.
X5's Pyaterochka is expected to register like-for-like online sales up 12-13per cent year on year in December, Vasin said, adding 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 50 billion roubles (US$662 million) for 2020.
The company committed to semi-annual dividend payments in 2020 and approved a first interim dividend of 20 billion roubles after quarterly results earlier this month.
(US$1 = 75.5700 roubles)
(Reporting by Olga Popova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by David Goodman)