Fresh draft as Booktopia launches $43.1 million IPO

Fresh draft as Booktopia launches $43.1 million IPO

Booktopia is set to open a fresh page on its attempt to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The online retailer has lodged a prospectus to raise $43.1 million and hopes to list on the ASX in early December.

The literary e-commerce endeavour is offering 18.8 million shares in the company at $2.30, which would give the Sydney-based company a market capitalisation of $315.8 million.

Booktopia plans on spending $25.1 million of the proceeds to fund growth through further investment in the its 14,000 sqm distribution facility in Sydney, increasing stock and working capital, listing costs, employee shares and paying down debt.

Nearly $18.1 million will be paid to existing shareholders.

Booktopia CEO and company co-founder Tony Nash said the offer provided an opportunity for new investors to participate in the achievements and future growth of a great Australian business.

"Since we sold our first book, we have ploughed millions of dollars and countless hours into building a dynamic, durable and scalable business," he said.

"For the first time, the general public will have an opportunity to share in that success and be part of our future."

"We have achieved tremendous growth over the last few years by focusing on our strengths as an online book retailer and seeking to dominate our sector through superior technology, customer service and product knowledge."

This is not Booktopia's first draft at scoring a spot on the ASX.

In 2016 it sought to raise $40 million for an IPO that would have valued the company at more than $100 million, but the deal wasn't a page-turner for institutional investors.

Then last year it tried the crowdfunded route, ooffering 8.1 per cent of the business to investors with plans to raise up to $10 million.

Again it was a story investors didn't buy into, but was followed by a successful $20 million capital raising right before COVID-19 became a global issue. 

Buoyed by at-home reading trends spurred by the pandemic, Booktopia's sales volumes leaped and the company hit FY2020 revenue of $165.8 million. Booktopia has decided to try and climb the charts again.

Booktopia chairman Chris Beare said the company had maintained and expanded the experienced management team that had driven the company's growth and success over the past 16 years.

"Booktopia Group prides itself in knowing and understanding the needs of its book-buying public," he said.

Research by Frost & Sullivan showed Australians spent $2.54 billion on books (including eBooks) in the last financial year, including $920 million in online book purchases. The online segment is expected to top $1 billion in the current financial year.

The Offer is scheduled to open on November 10 and close on November 24. Shares are expected to commence trading on the ASX on December 3.

Established in 2004 by Tony Nash, Simon Nash and Steven Traurig, Booktopia has a 6 per cent share of the Australian book market and accounts for almost 15 per cent of total online consumer book sales in Australia.

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