Bukalapak’s financial statements for the first quarter of 2022, released last week, showed a surprising turnaround.
The e-commerce major, which made
Bukalapak jumps 25% on debut after Indonesia’s biggest IPO
in August last year, when Indonesia’s first tech unicorn to list on the national stock exchange, suddenly recorded a net profit of just over US$1 billion. It had ended the last quarter of 2021 with more than $37 million in losses. Revenues increased from US$36 million to US$54.4 million during this period.
If those numbers don’t seem to add up, it’s because the largest portion of the company’s profits can be attributed to unrealized gains from an investment Bukalapak made in January: it acquired an 11. 49% in digital banking Allo Bank. The investment was part of an emergency diversification strategy the company initiated late last year.
At an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on December 23, Bukalapak
Material of the Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders (EGMS)
that about a third of the US$1.5 billion the company raised in its IPO – a record amount for an Indonesian listing – would be allocated to new investments. Previously, the entire proceeds of the IPO were supposed to serve as working capital for the core business and existing subsidiaries.
Allo Bank, the biggest bet placed after this decision, had a phenomenal rally in the last quarter; and the rising tide in the value of this stock has also lifted the tech giant’s boat. As well as allowing Bukalapak to turn a net profit for the quarter, it also reversed the bottomless fall in the company’s share price.
The Buka share price in recovery
- IDR 1,325 (USD 0.091) High point after the August 21 IPO
- IDR 258 ($0.018) Low point, March 22
- IDR 382 (USD 0.026) Now May 22
Allo Bank has been Bukalapak’s most effective but not the only investment. Since listing on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), it has backed more than a dozen other businesses, including an e-grocer, an automated voicemail service and an edtech platform. Bukalapak has also placed money in other investment vehicles and created his own new businesses, even overseas. And there are no signs of stopping now, as he has more investment firepower.
“Reallocation of IPO proceeds happens sometimes, but reallocation just five months after the IPO is unique,” said John Octavianus, senior adviser at Nilzon Capital, a management firm of heritage.