By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: The health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked economic meltdown across the globe. Many businesses, however, have found the challenging times as an opportunity to thrive where digital solutions are the key to success. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the pandemic has increased importance of digitalisation and automation of businesses multiple times and this trend will continue to grow with the availability of advanced mobile internet 3G/4G in Pakistan.
In this backdrop, Octopus Digital – a software development and IT solutions firm – has found the changing business environment as an opportunity to capitalise on and has planned to raise Rs1.5 billion through an offer of shares to retail investors at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). â€œThe company aims to expand its footprint by investing the equity to be raisedâ€¦to induct more human resources to cater to the growing need for digitalisation and automation of businesses not only in the country but in the international market as well,â€ lead consultant and book-runner BMA Capital Executive Director Saad Hashmi said.
â€œThis will be the first IPO by a tech firm after a gap of five years,â€ he said, adding that Systems Limited was the last tech firm listed at the Pakistan bourse. The company has planned to offer its shares to corporate entities, rich individual and retail investors through book building and the Initial Public Offering (IPO) sometime at the beginning of next year – 2021. The firm is a subsidiary of Avanceon Limited, which was listed at the PSX (formerly Karachi Stock Exchange) in late 2013. The parent company provides digitalisation and automation solutions to businesses while the subsidiary provides maintenance for the tech solutions at business houses, Hashmi said.
â€œWe have yet to find the floor and cap prices (the possible minimum and maximum value) of sharesâ€¦to be offered to potential investors through the IPO,â€ Hashmi said, adding the two – tech firm and the brokerage house – had inked an agreement in that regard last week. The subsidiary firm was established around two years ago.
Hashmi said the PSX had remained under selling pressure due to political noise these days. He, however, believed it would end with the return of political stability soon. â€œFundamentals and macroeconomic indicators stand sound and stable,â€ he stated. Avanceon Limited Founder and CEO Bakhtiar H Wain in a statement said, â€œOur solutions, using big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are designed for collaborative real-time analysis to improve process efficiencies and help our customers transition into the industry 4.0 era (the next level of tech efficiency).â€ â€œOctopusâ€™s biggest asset is its brilliant team, which is not only exceptionally talented but also passionate about the companyâ€™s cause,â€ he said.