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Serko closes IPO public offer early, may scale applications

Serko, the online business travel booking company, has closed the retail portion of its share offer nine days early and said it may scale back public share requests after strong investor demand.

The Auckland-based company has closed the public pool component of its public offer, which opened last Wednesday and was supposed to close on June 19. It expects to list on the main board of the NZX on June 24. Serko will allocate shares to a mixture of NZX firms, New Zealand and Australian institutions and retail shareholders, but the number of shares that public pool investors receive may be lower than the number requested, it said in a statement.

Serko will sell 15.5 million of new shares at $1.10 apiece, raising some $17 million, and a further 4.5 million existing shares worth $5 million will be sold into the offer. Founders Darrin Grafton and Bob Shaw will each retain about 20 percent and have agreed not to sell any more shares until two days after Serko announces its 2016 annual result.

Of the $17 million raised, $11.3 million will be held to fund capital initiatives and pay for the $438,000 cost of the IPO, $3.4 million will repay bank debt and $2.3 million will repay shareholder loans, according to its prospectus lodged with the Companies Office. Serko forecasts net cash of $9.9 million at next month's listing, and anticipates spending $2.4 million in the current financial year and $2.5 million in the first half of the 2016 financial year.

(BusinessDesk)