Coolblue delays IPO (again)


Dutch e-tailer Coolblue has delayed the IPO it had announced for this month. The current conditions on the stock exchange are too uncertain - but are recent reports about a drop in profit margin to blame as well?


Until further notice

This summer, rumours about a possible IPO were rife: would Coolblue choose Euronext Amsterdam or rather Brussels? Would founder Pieter Zwart sell his shares or would it be shareholder HAL? Earlier this month, these and other questions were finally answered: Coolblue confirmed its IPO in Amsterdam, before the end of the month, with a combination of shares currently owned by Zwart, HAL, smaller shareholders... and some newly issued shares.


However, nothing of the sort will actually happen this month: today, Coolblue released a press release to announce the delay "until further notice". The company says that the "current market conditions create uncertainty among investors towards IPOs in particular in the ecommerce space". This may jeopardise the company's expansion plans into new markets and new services, although the company did not confirm this.


It is unknown whether last week's reports had anything to do with this delay: Dutch analysts of ING predicted a big decrease in profitability from 4.6 % in the first six months of 2021 to 2.7 % now. This is said to have been caused by a staff shortage in a distribution centre, meaning the company deliberately underadvertised and delayed shipments, leading to lower seals. Moreover, new staff was lured in with higher wages - leading to higher costs. However, Coolblue did not point to those figures in today's press release.


Second time

It is not the first time Coolblue has delayed its IPO: the same happened this April, when the company said it wanted to improve its organisation before committing to an IPO. That news came just two months after the e-tailer admitted to have thought long and hard about a flotation. Even at that first instance, analysts called the move "exceptional and not without its risks".


As usual, Coolblue founder Pieter Zwart brought the news with some humour: "As major shareholders, we continue to do what we are so good at - holding our shares. We are going to make this the very, very, very best year possible in both the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany."