The British food delivery company Deliveroo will carry out the largest IPO in 10 years in London on Wednesday, with a valuation of 7.6 billion pounds, 10.5 billion dollars, amid questions about its economic model and the precariousness of its delivery people.
Deliveroo’s price, initially reserved for professionals, was set at 3.90 pounds per share, representing a valuation of 7.6 billion pounds, a source close to the group told AFP on Tuesday.
This places the group’s valuation in the lower part of the range predicted by experts, who had forecast an initial valuation of up to 8.8 billion pounds.
The British company, founded in 2013 and known for its mobile application that allows you to order food from restaurants and receive it at home, will make its IPO, the most anticipated of the moment in the City, on Wednesday.
But purchases won’t open to the general public until April 7.
– Labor dissatisfaction –
But the moment of entering the market, which is usually the occasion for a company to present itself in the best possible way, has been overshadowed by a wave of labor discontent.
In recent days, several strikes and demonstrations, albeit limited in size, have taken place in the UK, France and Australia.
Britain’s self-employed union, the IWGB, is scheduled to take action on April 7.
And Manchester United English footballer Marcus Rashford, who has become a spokesman for the fight against child poverty, has even scheduled a meeting with those responsible for Deliveroo, a company that supports his foundation.
All of them denounce the precarious working conditions of the delivery men, recognizable by the imposing turquoise backpacks they carry while they cycle through the streets.
The majority are young men, self-employed and symbols of the “gig economy”, or economy of precarious small jobs, on which digital platforms rely to prosper.
But the trend is starting to turn: the British Supreme Court recently forced chauffeured car booking giant Uber to grant minimum wage and paid holidays to its drivers in the UK.
Deliveroo, for its part, ensures that its delivery people seek flexibility and charge more than 10 pounds per hour on average.
However, a study broadcast by the IWGB notes that wages can be as low as £ 2 per hour, as in the case of a delivery boy in the north of England.
– Investor concern –
The company, which employs 2,000 people, works with 115,000 restaurants in 800 cities around the world and has about 100,000 delivery drivers.
The viability of its business model now worries even the most influential investors in the City.
Thus, several asset management giants, such as Aberdeen Standard and Aviva Investors, each with hundreds of billions of pounds, are unwilling to invest in this group, citing the bad example of their social practices.
In its thick stock market presentation document, the company did not mention the famous ESG (social, environmental and governance) criteria, which have become almost unavoidable in the business world.
Instead, he noted that he has set aside 112 million pounds in 2020 to deal with the consequences of ongoing litigation. In particular, couriers are battling the courts in the UK in an attempt to obtain a collective agreement.
The company has a lot at stake in its IPO, which comes at a time when its business has been boosted by the pandemic.
Deliveroo, in which the giant Amazon has 16% of the capital, will take advantage of the IPO to raise 1 billion pounds in new money with which to finance its growth, although it has not yet reached profitability.
jbo / acc / zm