Seoul - South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang has raised 4.2 billion dollars in its initial public offering that makes it the biggest listing in the United States so far this year.

The Seoul-based firm, backed by Japan’s SoftBank, has shaken up the South Korean retail sector since launching 11 years ago with a platform guaranteeing same-day delivery, which helped turn it into the tech-savvy nation’s online market leader.

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission submitted Wednesday, Coupang said it had sold 120 million shares in the IPO at 35 dollars apiece — above its initial target range of 27-30 dollars — giving it a market value of 60 billion dollars.

It will debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol CPNG.

The blockbuster listing — the biggest in New York since Alibaba’s US record 25 billion dollars offering in 2014 — will make an overnight billionaire of founder Kim Bom-suk, with the 42-year-old CEO’s 10 percent holding worth around 6 billion dollars.

SoftBank, Coupang’s biggest shareholder, also stands to make 16 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg News. The Japanese conglomerate invested 1 billion dollars in the firm in 2015, in a deal that valued it at 5 billion dollars. That was followed three years later by another 2 billion dollars funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which said the firm was worth 9 billion dollars , Bloomberg said.

With many flocking to shop online during the coronavirus pandemic, the e-commerce giant’s net revenue jumped 91 percent on-year to 11.9 billion dollars in 2020.

But its combined net losses for the fiscal years from 2018 to 2020 came in at more than 2.2 billion dollars, said the filing, which added: “We may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability in future periods.”(AFP)


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