Symmetry Group Limited, a tech-focused enterprise dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and data-powered marketing technology, is gearing up to launch its initial public offering (IPO). The company intends to conduct the book-building process on August 8-9, marking 2023’s first and most substantial tech sector IPO.
Speaking about the timing of this significant move, Symmetry Group Limited’s Chief Executive, Sarocsh Ahmed, explained the careful consideration behind the August launch. He emphasized that the timing hinges on approvals from the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). Ahmed revealed that the company had been planning this IPO since 2021.
Ahmed, whose company plans to offer 101,240,082 shares as part of the IPO, expressed the necessity of funds for ongoing expansion plans, marking the culmination of a prolonged waiting period.
The recent standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the positive response from the stock market have been pivotal factors in determining the opportune timing for the IPO. Furthermore, the final approval from the SECP was secured on June 1, with a time-bound requirement to conclude the IPO by August 31. To meet this deadline, the book building phase has been scheduled for August 8 and 9, followed by the public offering and refund phases.
Reflecting on the bullish momentum in the benchmark KSE-100 index, Ahmed stated that the current climate offers stability for at least six months, assuring that Pakistan will not default. He expressed optimism about the book building stage, expecting overwhelming demand and potential oversubscription.
Discussing the decision to set the floor price at Rs. 4.25 per share, Ahmed noted that initial market conditions and investor feedback influenced the adjustment from the original Rs. 5.50 price. The company now looks to the market to determine the strike price, with the recent PSX rally raising hopes for a favorable outcome.
In response to questions about the impact of increased taxes on digital services in the recent budget, Ahmed highlighted the resilience of digital indicators, with rising data consumption, mobile and broadband subscriptions, digital bank licenses, digital transactions, and e-commerce activities. He also emphasized the opportunities arising from Pakistan’s rapidly growing population, stating that every year, a new cohort of technology-savvy individuals emerges.
Ahmed underscored the significant human resource potential in Pakistan, pointing out that the country’s main asset is its human resources. He revealed that clients from the Middle East are increasingly turning to Pakistan for outsourcing, driven by cost considerations and currency fluctuations. Pakistan’s ability to offer cost-effective resources, coupled with timely solutions, positions it favorably for generating substantial revenues.
Discussing the potential of freelancing in Pakistan, Ahmed stressed the need for the private sector to support this burgeoning industry. While acknowledging the challenges of fraudulent activities and quality control, he encouraged freelancers and startups to prioritize profitability and sustainability in their business models. Ahmed noted a shift in the investment landscape, with investors now seeking profitable and sustainable ventures, marking a departure from previous models focused solely on user acquisition.
Ahmed emphasized the importance of ethical business practices and sound financial planning for startups, advocating for responsible resource allocation and gradual, sustainable growth.