Blow for London as tech giant Kaspi ditches plans for a £4 billion float just weeks before Brexit is due

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A Goldman Sachs-backed technology company today shelved its £4 billion flotation in a hammer blow for the London market less a month before the UK is due to leave the European Union. 

Payments app Kaspi announced plans to list three weeks ago but today it blamed “unfavourable market conditions”, particularly in the tech sector, for its decision to postpone the float. 

Kaspi is part owned by Goldman Sachs and Russia’s Baring Vostok bank and would have floated with a valuation of around £4 billion, making it the largest tech float in London this year. 

In the first half of the year its profit was £160 million on revenues of £472 million.

One broker said: “It’s a blow to the market. I think it shows that things are hanging by a thread, there’s just not the confidence out there and of course it’s been a hell of a year for IPOs going badly.” 

It is also a blow to London’s top bankers with Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and UBS on the ticket and set to earn millions from the float.

The firm in particular blamed investors’ cooling attitude towards the tech sector, which has suffered in recent weeks after WeWork canned its IPO following a public takedown of its valuation and governance. 

Last month Peloton, the high-tech fitness equipment firm, made a disastrous start to life on the public markets in New York. 

This string of high-profile flops has sparked fears of a tech bubble, where rapid growth and rocketing revenues are concealing the true ability of companies to generate profits. 

Investors globally have also been spooked by geopolitical concerns and the appetite for risk is at record lows. 

Recent figures show Brexit has hammered London’s IPO market, which is at its quietest for a decade. 

Just four listings took place between July and September and analysts believe the prospect of a general election has also wrecked investor confidence. 

Some in the market were unsurprised by Kaspi’s decision, adding that previous IPOs of Kazakh banks have proved to be risky investments. 

Of the four that have listed on foreign bourses in recent years, only Halyk Bank, Kazakhstan’s biggest, continues to trade in London.

Kaspi, a big player in central Europe operates payment processing systems in Kazakhstan and owns online marketplaces in Azerbaijan offering cars, property and used items. 

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October 7, 2019 |
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