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Kakao Pay debuts as 14th in market cap

Upon its listing, combined market cap of Kakao affiliates surpasses 100 trillion won, similar to Hyundai Motor Group

Kakao Pay CEO Ryu Young-joon and the company’s executives and IPO managers pose for photos during the IPO ceremony at Korea Exchange on Wednesday. (Kakao Pay)
Kakao Pay CEO Ryu Young-joon and the company’s executives and IPO managers pose for photos during the IPO ceremony at Korea Exchange on Wednesday. (Kakao Pay)




Kakao Pay, the fintech arm of mobile giant Kakao Corp., became Korea’s 14th-largest stock by market capitalization upon its market debut on the country’s stock market Wednesday, after its opening price doubled from its IPO price.

The mobile payment service provider, which offered shares at 90,000 won ($76) for its IPO, began trading at 180,000 won on the main Kospi board and rose to 230,000 won before closing at 193,000 won.

If the company remains within the top 50 on the Kospi, it can be reviewed for early inclusion on the Kospi 200, a capitalization-weighted index, a boost for the stock as the index is followed by funds worth trillions of won.

“Kakao Pay will pave the way for a leap into everyone’s financial platform through financial innovation and shareholder value,” said Ryu.

The listing will make Kakao Pay’s executives and strategic investors including Kakao and China’s Ant Group a fortune. Ryu has a stock option to buy 712,030 shares at 5,000 won apiece as of June 30, which is estimated to worth 120 billion won if he exercises the option at 180,000 won per share. After the listing, Kakao owns 47.3 percent, while China’s Alipay holds 39.13 percent.

Kakao Pay’s IPO marked the first time a company is relying entirely on the equal allocation system. The system was adopted earlier this year to give the same chance of subscribing shares to all investors as long as a minimum deposit is made.

Kakao Pay’s successful IPO follows Kakao Bank, the banking arm of the mobile behemoth, which went public on Aug. 6.

The online lender, with some 15 million subscribers, is ranked 12th in terms of market cap and is the country’s largest listed financial company. Kakao Corp., whose services include Korea’s main mobile messenger app, is currently the country’s sixth-largest company by market cap, following LG Chem. The combined market capitalization of Kakao and its affiliates surpasses 100 trillion won, similar to the 102 trillion won total valuation of Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates.

Founded as a 55:45 joint venture of Kakao and Ant, Kakao Pay offers financial services including mobile payment and remittance and has accumulated some 36.5 million users, with the number of monthly active users reaching 19.9 million. Total transactions during the 12 months ending in June stood at 85 trillion won, and its revenue grew 102 percent on average over the past two years, according to the company. In the first half of this year, Kakao Pay finally moved into the black.

(gypark@heraldcorp.com)
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