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Return of the blockbuster IPO revives interest in CEE equity markets

Emerging Europe’s dormant primary equity market springs back to life. Can the revival continue into 2021?


Until September, primary equity markets in central and eastern Europe (CEE) had been largely dormant for nearly three years. In 2019, IPO volume from the region, including Russia and Turkey, totalled just $356 million.

That all changed with the $2.7 billion listing in Warsaw of Polish ecommerce player Allegro, the second-largest IPO in Europe this year and the largest in CEE since 2007.

Tim Umberger, partner at emerging markets fund manager East Capital, says the deal “put CEE back on the map” for many global investors.

“Allegro is a fantastic asset with a lot of scarcity that effectively offered emerging market-type growth at close to developed market levels of risk,” he says. “It attracted a lot of demand from all over the world and performed amazingly after the placement.”

International investors also turned out in size for two further CEE listings from the same sector. Kaspi, a Kazakh consumer-focused bank that repositioned itself as a fintech and ecommerce firm ahead of a first IPO attempt in October 2019, was able to double its targeted deal size to $1 billion on its return to the market a year later.

The investment universe in CEE is clearly expanding on the tech side
Tim Umberger, East Capital

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