Zomato’s IPO draws strong investor demand

India’s food delivery market is expected to touch $8bn by 2023

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 1, 2019, 2019.  
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-- Zomato motorcycles parked outside Al Wahda Mall.
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A $1.3 billion stock offering by Indian food delivery start-up Zomato, backed by China's Ant Group was more than 26 times oversubscribed before the offer closed on Friday, as investors placed bets on a fast-growing sector.

The first IPO in India's food delivery sector is priced at 72 to 76 rupees ($0.96 to $1.01) per share, giving it a valuation of up to $7.98bn.

Bids by big institutional investors were more than 36 times the shares on offer for their category, market data showed.

Before the IPO opened this week, Zomato raised $562 million from 186 big financial investors, including marquee names such as Tiger Global, Blackrock, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.

Investors are placing bets on Zomato even though it flagged in its IPO draft prospectus that its costs and losses would continue to rise as it ramps up investments towards business growth.

“There is insane demand and a lot of excitement,” said Jimeet Modi, founder of Indian brokerage Samco Securities. “Retail investors are looking at this from a listing gains point of view.”

The Zomato IPO comes when India's markets are near their all-time highs and there is growing interest from digital companies to list on bourses.

Ant group-backed financial payments app Paytm on Friday filed draft papers in India for a $2.2bn IPO, while Walmart's e-commerce giant Flipkart is also planning one.

Like US-based DoorDash, Zomato is mainly a food delivery app, having partnered with 350,000 restaurants and cafes in 526 Indian cities. It also allows customers to book tables for dine-in and write food reviews and upload photos.

Zomato competes with local rival Swiggy, which is backed by SoftBank, and Amazon's still nascent food delivery service in a market that Boston Consulting Group expects will touch $8bn by 2023, from just $4bn last year.

The Zomato app has 41.5 million customers using its service on an average every month, and orders on its platform surged to 403.1 million in the year 2019-2020, from just 30.6 million in 2017-2018, its draft IPO prospectus showed.

While the Zomato IPO is seeing strong investor interest, some analysts said the company's valuations were too high, especially because the company does not make a profit.

Himanshu Nayyar, an analyst at India's Yes Securities, has said in a research note that Zomato's IPO price range was “really expensive”, as “its path to profitability is still not clear".

Zomato is valued at an enterprise value that is 25 times sales for 2021, compared with similar global peers that are on an average value at 10 times, the research note added.

Updated: July 17, 2021, 4:30 AM