The IPO of fintech Unifiedpost is expected to bring a breath of fresh air into the Brussels Stock Exchange, following the IPO (initial public offering) of the pharmaceutical company Hyloris last June. Later this month, the Walloon medtech company Nyxoah also wants to raise $71.2 million (€60 million) for the development of an implant against sleep apnea. The fast-growing company Unifiedpost – which can be compared to a financial Facebook for companies – has been considering this IPO since last year and is now taking the plunge.
The IPO will take place via a classic operation, which also allows small investors to subscribe for shares, but via a direct listing, which means that institutional investors will subscribe for a private placement immediately followed by a stock market listing.
“Six international investment funds, including two US funds, have already committed to invest $116.3 million (€98 million),” explained Chairman Stefan Yee. Thanks to this commitment, Unifiedpost can increase the transaction amount from the previously announced $118.7 million (€100 million) to $189.8 million (€160 million).
The company, headquartered in La Hulpe, wants to use this money to finance its internal and external growth. It will also enable it to repay the financing of a previous acquisition of $20.1 million (€17 million). The company declined to comment on its valuation.
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Unifiedpost has more than 250 enterprise customers
More than 38% of the company is still in the hands of the management, gathered around Hans Leybaert, who started 20 years ago with a platform for companies to communicate electronically. The founder and CEO describes it as a financial Facebook where companies can invite their customers and suppliers to connect.
Within this network, they can exchange data instead of paper documents or PDFs. It was the springboard to digital invoice and contract management. “Since 2004, we have managed the sending of all Reuters (now Refinitiv) invoices in 140 countries,” explained Leybaert.
Unifiedpost now has more than 250 enterprise customers, including ABN Amro, but the company has also expanded its activities to SMBs and launched new services such as identity and bill payment services. “We have created Billtobox, a digital platform for SMEs to manage their invoices, reminders, orders, HR documents, etc.”
“Large customers such as energy supplier Lampiris (Total) send 1 million invoices per month, but we also have hundreds of thousands of small customers who use a limited number of services and pay between (€5) and (€10)per month”. Unifiedpost processes 350 million documents per year for more than 400,000 customers. This customer base continues to grow thanks to the “ambassadors” that are accountants and government authorities, who recommend the platform.
Unifiedpost’s turnover increased by 59% in the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2019.
Combining internal growth and 11 acquisitions in Belgium and abroad, Unifiedpost achieved an annual turnover of $81.8 million (€69 million). In the first half of 2020, it grew by 59% compared to the same period last year to $39.7 million (€33.5 million). Without the coronavirus pandemic, the company could probably have posted even better results, as many customers have scaled back their activities in the wake of the crisis. “In April, for example, the temporary employment market slowed down, but by July things had returned to normal,” continues Leybaert.
On the other hand, the pandemic accelerated the increase in the number of new clients. “Since the coronavirus crisis, the demand for digitisation has been increasing. We can count on this trend in the short and long term,” added CFO Laurent Marcelis.
The company will publish detailed figures once its prospectus has been approved by the authorities. However, Leybaert indicated that the adjusted EBITDA – excluding R&D costs – was positive.
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First published in L’Echo, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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