A Russian flag flies in Manhattan, New York, United States, August 2, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

MOSCOW, October 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The recipe for the Russian salad is the subject of heated national debate. The dish, which the natives call the Olivier salad, can contain eggs, vegetables, meat or seafood, and even pickles, all bound with mayonnaise. Russia’s recent wave of initial public offers offers a similar hodgepodge.

Stock quotes for companies in the country have been scarce since 2014, when President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea resulted in European and US sanctions, which scared foreign investors. Since then, there have been at best a handful of IPOs each year. As recently as 2018, there was none.

Dynamic stock markets have turned the tide. Ozon (OZON.O), a $ 10 billion e-commerce group, listed in New York City last year, while discount retailer Fix Price debuted in London in March. Today, at least seven other Russian companies are preparing offers, making 2021 the busiest year for new listings in the country since 2007, when companies such as the state-owned VTB bank (VTBR.MM) carried the total proceeds from the IPO to $ 21 billion. The global IPO boom has undoubtedly helped: The amount raised through new listings around the world has more than doubled year over year in the first nine months of 2021, according to data from Refinitiv.

As in other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of some companies. Online real estate ad group Cian, which Reuters said last month was looking to raise $ 350 million in New York City, has benefited from increased internet usage. Application-based carsharing company Delimobil, which operates a fleet of more than 18,000 vehicles and is the market leader in Moscow, is targeting a similar amount. Food retailer VkusVill is inspired by the trend towards healthier eating.

Other budding IPOs are less attractive. Mercury Retail, which wants to raise more than a billion dollars in Moscow, is betting on Russian consumers whose real incomes are falling. Selling primarily alcohol and cigarettes can also discourage investors concerned about the social impact of their holdings. The SPB Exchange, a St. Petersburg stock exchange that allows Russians to trade Western stocks, plans to be the first company to go public next year. But he will find it difficult to compete with his biggest Moscow rival.

Barring a stock market crash or another round of tougher sanctions, Russia’s IPO pipeline is unlikely to dry up completely. But like a Russian salad, some ingredients won’t be to everyone’s taste.

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NEWS CONTEXT

– IT company Softline has launched an initial public offering in London and Moscow to raise around $ 400 million. On October 18, he announced an indicative price range that would value the group’s equity up to $ 1.9 billion.

– The real estate site Cian launched on October 13 an IPO in Moscow.

– Russian insurance group Renaissance Insurance launched an IPO at the end of September and on October 11 announced a indicative price range that would estimate its equity at 73 billion rubles ($ 1 billion) after the transaction.

– Carsharing company Delimobil filed for an IPO in New York on October 8, claiming that its revenue for the six-month period ended June 30 was 5 billion rubles ($ 69 million ), more than double a year earlier.

– Convenience store chain Mercury Retail aims to raise more than $ 1 billion from an IPO in Moscow by the end of the year, Reuters reported on September 30, citing financial sources.

– Food retailer VkusVill and SPB Exchange are among those preparing public listings, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, reported in September that VkusVill could be valued at between $ 3 billion and $ 5 billion and the exchange at $ 2 billion.

Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Oliver Taslic

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