Prague/London, April 12 (CTK) – Avast, originally a Czech security software company, wants to acquire some USD200m in May by listing a share issue on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the company said in a press release today.
Avast thus plans to cut debts and finance its further growth.
According to information from Reuters agency, the whole company should be appraised at some USD4bn (Kc82bn) on the stock exchange entry.
Avast hopes that besides the USD200m from the primary offer, it will gain another USD800m from secondary sales of the shares, Reuters’ source told the agency.
The global stock offer will target institutional investors in Great Britain and other countries except for the USA. Shares whose total value corresponds to a quarter of the company’s share capital are to be traded on the stock exchange.
Avast planned an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012 already but gave up the plan due to the market conditions.
Avast’s security products were used by 435 million clients in December 2017, by 290 million of them for computers and the rest for mobile equipment. Almost a half of the users are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a third in America.
Avast raised consolidated revenues by 91 percent to USD653m last year, but against a USD25m profit in 2016 it sank into a USD34m loss. Its operating profit quadrupled to USD124m.
Avast as a company from the technology sector could attract the interest of investors in the IPO, said Martin Vlcek of BH Securities company.
“Problems of the biggest firms in the sector of the type of Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet mostly do not affect other technology firms and the sector as a whole reaches very strong growth in sales and profits per share so Avast could be an interesting new stock,” he said.
Vlcek sees as positive the fact that Avast expects its shares to be acceptable for incorporation in British stock indices FTSE UK. This could made the company’s brand more visible.
From the point of view of a global player like Avast, it is logical to go to a large and well known stock exchange. London is still considered the financial centre for Europe so investor potential is high here, said J&T Banka analyst Milan Vanicek.
Nevertheless, he expressed a bit of disappointment that the company is not planning to place its shares also on the Prague Stock Exchange (BCPP).
“I am a bit sorry that as an originally Czech company, Avast will not make a dual listing on the BCPP. I have not heard about such decision for now. But I may be pleasantly surprised,” Vanicek noted.
Avast should have considered the option of being listed on the Prague bourse more, allowing domestic investors to participate in its future growth, said Frantisek Bostl of Starteepo, a company helping others enter a stock exchange.
“I think that domestic investors would welcome such encouragement. I expect a high interest but as usual, everything will depend on the company’s appraisal and current condition. Investors will get this information from a prospectus which will be published before the IPO,” he added.
Avast’s founders hold 46 percent in the company, 29 percent is in the hands of CVC Capital Partners investment company based in Luxembourg and employees and management own 18 percent.
Avast has 1,600 employees in the world, roughly 1,000 of them in the Czech Republic – in Prague and Brno. It has branches in 15 countries, including the USA, Japan and Russia.
Avast was set up in 1988 by computer enthusiasts Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis. The company is one of the pioneers on the computer security market.
In 2016, Avast bought rival Czech antivirus firm AVG. In terms of sales, Avast is the second biggest antivirus firm in the world, right behind Symantec.