MakeMyTrip valuation soars 90 percent on Nasdaq debut (Lead)

August 13th, 2010 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
New York, Aug 13 (IANS) MakeMyTrip, a pioneering Indian online travel portal, has made a dream debut on the US markets with its shares soaring over 90 percent after listing on the Nadaq, catapulting its valuation to $800 million.

“It is fair to say it’s been a fairytale listing for us now,” said Deep Kalra, chief executive officer and founder of MakeMyTrip, who rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq Thursday to begin trading at the exchange.

“We are very excited. I don’t think anyone anticipated this,” Kalra told IANS.

The company had raised $70 million from its initial public offer of five million shares to the US investors. At an offer price of $14 per share, the company was valued at close to $480 million, prior to the listing.

But after the surge in the stock price, the valuation jumped to around $800 million with shares closing at $26.45 on the bourse.

“We are trying not to get carried away with this dream run — more exciting than the pop, as they call it here if an issue is heavily oversubscribed as we were,” Kalra said. “I think, it is a great feeling.”

Kalra, who founded MakeMyTrip in 2000, said pleased as he was with the market reaction, he was focused on using the proceeds to help grow the company. “It’s a good milestone but only the beginning of a long journey.”

The company initially was a conduit for those in the US traveling to India but shifted focus in 2005 as an India-centric travel source. Now its products include air tickets, holiday packages, hotel bookings, rail and bus tickets, car hire and access to travel insurance.

Through its portal, makemytrip.com, it provides access to all major domestic airlines, all major carriers operating to and from India, over 4,000 hotels in India and outside India, the Indian Railways and several major bus operators.

It saw 1.6 million domestic air ticket transaction in the year ended March 31.

Speaking about the company’s plans, Kalra said the public offer was not focused on the price as much as on getting the right kind of investors and was glad it attracted some long-term names take good positions.

“I think investors are looking for emerging markets where they can actually see large growth,” said the founder of New Delhi- and New York-based company.

“We are very bullish the takeoff on Internet (in India) is something that is going to happen. More importantly, we expect a lot of the people coming online to be on broadband,” he said.

“We believe the Indian online travel industry is well-positioned for long-term growth,” he said, noting that the internet penetration in India was only about 7 percent for a population of 1.17 billion as compared to 74.1 percent in the US.

“We expect to see phenomenal growth as more people get to enjoy the online experience.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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