Shares in this Amazon rival soared more than 50% in the stock’s first day of trading


Founded in 1999, Allegro has more than 20 million monthly users and touts nearly 120,000 merchants.


Wojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Shares in Poland’s most popular e-commerce company and one of Amazon’s
AMZN,
+4.46%
chief rivals in Central Europe surged more than 50% in the stock’s first day of trading in Warsaw.

Allegro stocks opened 51% higher on Monday at 65 zlotys ($17), bringing the market value of the online shopping company to around $17.2 billion.

The initial public offering, one of the biggest in Europe this year, makes Allegro the largest listed company in Poland.

Founded in 1999, Allegro has more than 20 million monthly users and touts nearly 120,000 merchants. It is the most popular destination for online shopping in Poland, and directly competes against Amazon through the German base of the U.S. tech company.

The group, which also runs the online price comparison site Ceneo, priced its shares at 43 zlotys ($11) after it announced its intention to float in September. That price valued the company at $11.6 billion.

“With our IPO process now complete, we can now look forward to starting Allegro’s next phase of growth as a listed company,” said François Nuyts, the group’s chief executive.

“Our amazing team is ready for the challenge, and is excited to press on with our ambitious plans to improve our platform and make it an even better place for consumers to shop and for merchants to do business.”

The IPO was expected to raise $263 million for the company and as much as $2.5 billion for its owners, who sold down their stakes. A private equity triumvirate consisting of Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa purchased Allegro in 2016 from Naspers
NPSN,

of South Africa for $3.3 billion. 

The group issued more than 23 million new shares while its owners sold more than 190 million existing shares in Allegro. The company said that the bulk of the money it raised will be used to pay down debt.

Allegro’s IPO marks a win for Warsaw’s stock exchange, which is dominated by state-controlled companies and has struggled to attract big companies in recent years.



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