Could Croatia’s Infobip End Up on New York Stock Exchange?

Lauren Simmonds

Infobip, a truly impressive company from Vodnjan, Istria, is continuing to go from strength to strength alongside the likes of Rimac Automobili – could it find itself on the New York Stock Exchange and go down in Croatian economic history?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VL/Zoran Vitas writes on the 14th of November, 2019, the Croatian publications Poslovni Dnevnik and Vecernji List are awarding the most prestigious business awards in the country this year yet again.

The title of Economist and Economic Event of the Year will be awarded to the most successful and strongest business person and business event in Croatia, whose business or influence crucially affected the economic trends in the country, and also improved the established economic and social climate.

Although it isn’t being talked about too much yet, the news that Vodnjan’s incredible company Infobip could be listed on the New York Stock Exchange was one of the biggest pieces of economic news so far this year, and it’s certainly news that has attracted the most attention, alongside Hyundai’s massive investment in Rimac Automobili.

While it remains a pleasant piece of news, it is in actuality quite logical for Infobip to make an initial public offering that would finally push it towards gaining the title of Croatia’s first ”unicorn”, a newer company worth more than 1 billion US dollars. It’s been a while since all of that was first discussed, and that once very distant possibility has now steadily begun to take on a somewhat more palpable contour.

“We’ll make an IPO decision in two years. This needs to be prepared for, it was only four months ago that we first employed a finance chief with a background in investment banking and corporate finance. For example, we’ve monitored transfer prices so far, and logistically we can pass the audit done by Ernst & Young for us, as we have 65 offices in countries around the world. However, starting this year only, we’ve started to use finance as a lever for the development of the company,” Silvio Kutić, co-founder and CEO of Infobip, said in a recent interview with Poslovni Dnevnik.

For the first time since Infobip has existed, it has a Chief Financial Officer. The man in question is Mario Baburić, who has engineering experience in addition to vast experience in the world of finance. In the first interview he gave when he took up the position, back at the beginning of September, he revealed to Vecernji List that his main task was to provide a solid foundation for Infobip’s IPO.

”IPOs may be the next phase, but before that, companies usually find a serious private investor who can acquire a minority stake by recapitalisation, and these funds will help us in the next two to three years to grow further.

We need some 12 to 24 months to prepare for IPOs. By carefully selecting investors with a good reputation, we will get an extra spring in our step in terms of our future plans for a stronger presence in the US and other markets. After that, we’d be ready for a campaign in about two years, that is, we could sort out a story like an IPO. The need for our services is growing, so we’re also thinking about private capital to help us grow, and we are looking for a solution to that in the next few months. Internally, the finance department is now being strengthened in order to be ready for this possible IPO,” Baburić said at the time.

Another high-profile person from the business world is engaged in preparing such ”gigs” across the Atlantic in New York. This is Boris Nemšić, the former head of Vip, later Mobilkom, and then CEO of the consulting company Delta Partners in Dubai. He is now head of the Infobip Advisory Board.

“I’m going to focus on the bigger picture, but also on managing the company so that, if we choose to do so, we’re ready for potential foreign investors,” Nemšić told Bloomberg, one of the world’s most influential business portals, which closely follows the activities around this remarkable company from Vodnjan, Istria.

”The fact that everything surrounding this is being taken very seriously has been confirmed by the involvement of a commercial bank in America. It is of interest to many of the world’s most renowned investors in the industry. Of course, when choosing a future investor, we need to look at what’s best for us, not only the price of money and valuation, which is of course important, but how to get an adequate partner who will further help us with their advice and experience,” they say from Infobip.

”If such a partner may already have had a similar company in his portfolio and helped it to enter the New York Stock Exchange, then there are people who can help us further with that experience. Our owners know very well how the business and the company are developing, which is why we’re only talking about a minority stake because we already have quality leadership. The investment bank we’ve engaged in this process is Citi,” Mario Baburić told Vecernji List in early September this year.

It is quite obvious that when it comes to the Infobip IPO, it will be a unique but also a turning point for the Croatian economy as a whole. At that point, should it come, Croatia will have a confirmed global player with solid roots in the largest market – the US market – in the most competitive sector of them all.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia for much more.


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