Yanolja with newfound growth potential seeks stock listing in 2021

Yanolja founder and CEO Lee Su-jin / Courtesy of Yanolja

Yanolja, the fast-growing operator of a travel and lodgings service platform here, is planning for a stock listing from scratch, in a revised strategy seeking a proper corporate valuation due to its rising growth potential as seen by a combined $180 million (213 billion won) investment by the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund and a global travel reservation app operator, industry sources said.

GIC Private Limited, formerly the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and Booking Holdings, a NASDAQ-listed American travel service platform operator valued the Korean firm at around 1 trillion won in June 2019, an assessment which could be bolstered given that its domestic and global earnings doubled and quadrupled, respectively in 2019, year-on-year.

The Korean firm recently sent a request for proposal (RFP) to five local and global brokerages, a prerequisite to selecting an underwriter for an initial public offering (IPO).

“We want to have the stocks listed by the end of 2021, a process that will require the help and foresight of underwriters that best understand the philosophy and vision of our firm,” a Yanolja official said.

This renders moot previous underwriting work in 2018 commissioned by Mirae Asset Daewoo and Daishin Securities.

Yanolja founder and CEO Lee Su-jin / Courtesy of Yanolja
An electric board shows stock market transactions. Yanolja seeks stock listing of its shares by the end of 2021. Korea Times file

The ambitious plan reflects the firm’s gross annual sales of 300 billion won in 2019, up 78.8 percent from the year before. Of the total, 270 billion won came from domestic sales, a 68 percent year-on-year growth, while overseas sales totaled 30 billion won, an over four-fold increase from 6.9 billion won in the same period. Its year-on-year operating loss of 10.1 billion won in 2019 dropped nearly 7 billion won.

The outstanding performance came despite the tourism industry taking a major hit from the pandemic. Data from Wise App, a data analysis service provider, showed Yanolja reporting a solid 4 percent year-on-year increase in sales in the January to July period after many Koreans changed their travel plans to visit local destinations as an alternative to overseas trips.

Further bolstering the global prospects for the Korean firm is its cloud-based Property Management System for hotels, a platform that enables a hotel or group of hotels to manage reservations, guest check-ins and check-outs, room assignments, room rates and billing.

Yanolja is the global leader in the cloud-based service, and the second-largest after Oracle Hospitality when measured by services offered via individual servers and data centers.

The firm is a favorite in the local IPO market alongside Krafton, the online games developer best known for “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” that gained worldwide popularity, and Big Hit Entertainment, the agency representing K-pop sensation BTS. Krafton is seeking to shortlist its underwriters with plans to list as early as next year.

Source: https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/biz/2020/10/175_297003.html