Toy maker to offer shares in Portugal tech-led IPO revival
Science4You plans to strengthen brand by floating €15m shares in 2019
Portuguese educational toy maker Science4You plans to float shares worth up to €15m in 2019 to stoke further expansion in a fresh sign that small technology firms may revive the country’s anaemic initial public offering (IPO) scene.
Science4You, which sells most of its products abroad, said on Thursday it wants to list shares amounting to up to 45% of its capital — a combination of new shares and shares held by its owners — on the Euronext Growth market.
Euronext Growth offers small and mid-sized companies market access with less stringent listing requirements and fees than the regulated market. It still guarantees protection to investors and is based on the same pan-European trading platform as the main Euronext cash market, enhancing liquidity.
Portugal’s IPO scene has been in a dry spell for most of the past decade following the 2008 world financial crisis and Portugal’s debt and economic woes in 2010-14, but in July fintech company Raize raised €5.5m to become the first initial public offerer in almost five years.
Holding company Sonae cancelled an IPO of shares in its food retail unit Sonae, valued at €1.65bn in October, citing adverse market conditions.
Science4You made its announcement during the annual Web Summit, Europe’s largest technology conference being held in Lisbon for the third time. The venue has put the city and Portugal firmly on the world technology map, helping to stoke a start-up boom.
Science4You makes educational kits such as Soap Factory or Sweet Factory, various build-and-play models from dinosaurs to cars, robots, microscopes and small drones.
It has annual sales of more than €20m and offers its products online via Amazon and through many outlets of major retailers such as Target, Harrods and John Lewis.
“This operation will give us better visibility and credibility … will make our brand stronger, more recognised and capable of continuing innovation in this important global industry,” said CEO Miguel Pina Martins, adding that the firm is going through “an important phase of internationalisation”.
He expects the flotation to occur in the next few months.
Pina Martins told Reuters in 2017 he wanted to keep boosting sales by more than 30% a year. The firm received €10m in financing from the European Investment Bank in 2017, and in 2015 it raised €7m in venture capital.