Booktopia's shares debut at a 26 per cent premium

Booktopia's shares debut at a 26 per cent premium

Shares in online book retailer Booktopia Group (ASX: BKG) began trading on the ASX today at a 26 per cent premium, hitting a high of $2.90 before settling back to trade around $2.60.

The shares were issued at $2.30 following a $43.1 million capital raising launched by the Sydney-based company in October.

Almost half of the capital raised through the IPO is being spent on expanding the company's 14,000sqm distribution facility in Sydney.

Company founder and CEO Tony Nash says the first stage of the $20 million upgrade to the distribution centre has been completed in time for Christmas trading.

"We are expecting our biggest Christmas ever and with the ability to process up to 60,000 book sales a day, we will be able to satisfy more customers," Nash says.

"The upgrade is the culmination of many years of planning and millions of dollars of investment in technology, automation and additional stock to meet the demands or our customers".

Stage one of the planned expansion has boosted Booktopia's outbound capacity from 30,000 units to 60,000 units per day. This includes a purpose-built mezzanine, more conveyor lines and new packing machines.

The next stage will see Booktopia trial autonomous robots at the distribution centre early next year.

The robots are expected to increase operational efficiency by up to four times and increase storage capacity by 80 per cent. The robotic system will facilitate heavier payloads with a higher reach, allowing the centre to add more high-density shelving, boosting capacity from 600,000 units to 1.8 million units.

Meanwhile, Booktopia has revealed that, based on unaudited management accounts to the end of November, the company's key trading measures including total units shipped and average order value are tracking in line with forecasts in the prospectus.

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