Ninja Van 'a year away' from IPO: CEO

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E-COMMERCE logistics player Ninja Van may pursue an initial public offering (IPO) in the US as early as next year.

Ninja Van chief executive Lai Chang Wen told the Financial Times (FT) on Sunday that the startup is "a year away" from an IPO.

In response to queries from The Business Times on the matter, a Ninja Van spokesperson would only say: "Our focus at this point is on growing the business at a sustainable rate. This will put us in a good position to take advantage of the financial opportunities at a suitable time in the future."

In its report, FT cited two sources as saying that the company had approached advisers to start discussions on a listing, most likely in the US.

One of the individuals also claimed that Ninja Van had passed a US$1 billion valuation following its US$279 million funding round last year. However, data platform VentureCap Insights shows that the Series C round had valued Ninja Van at US$779.8 million. Ninja Van declined to comment on its valuation.

FT also reported that Ninja Van is "almost break-even" and targeting profitability next year, which the Ninja Van spokesperson confirmed. According to VentureCap data, the startup posted a US$84.1 million loss in 2019, on the back of US$149.3 million in revenue.

Ninja Van saw its delivery volumes boom in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, although this also spelled more challenges, its Singapore country head Ray Chou told BT back in February.

Founded in 2014, Ninja Van is headquartered in Singapore and has operations in five other regional markets: Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Its IPO plans come as another logistics startup, Lalamove, filed confidentially for a US listing in June, but is now said to be weighing an IPO in Hong Kong instead.

The likes of Ninja Van and Lalamove face a competitive landscape, as e-commerce companies such as Shopee and Lazada increasingly invest in their own logistics.

But as Mr Lai told BT previously, his company will still strive to complement the marketplaces' capabilities.

"There will be different types of deliveries or services that they may not want to take on with their in-house fleet or cannot provide, which Ninja Van may be able to offer," he had then said.

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