Dubai: Joy Alukkas wants to get everything right with the planned IPO the second time round.
It has been 10 years since the Chairman of Joyalukkas Group, one of the biggest names in the UAE and India’s gold and jewellery retail, went ahead with IPO plans - and then decided to pull back. Alukkas says it will not be happening this time.
“In 2011, we had cleared the regulatory approval to list the India operations,” he said. “That’s when I thought the timing may not be right and our India operations had to reach a certain size before we went public. I had my doubts and that’s reason we withdrew.”
The Group, with its headquarters in the south Indian state of Kerala, has just submitted its application for a second tilt at listing. This time, Alukkas has no doubts that the timing is just right. “We hope to get the regular clearance in two months or so, and then we will proceed immediately with the IPO.
“The hope is to float between 10-15 per cent of the India operations, which is under the Joyalukkas India Ltd. banner.”
The UAE and all other overseas operations come under Joyalukkas Holding, a BVI (British Virgin Islands) registered entity.
Escalating gold prices
Gold is passing through some exceptional times, but not necessarily from a shopper’s perspective. International prices shot past $2,000 an ounce as recently as earlier this month, and continues to be in the $1,920 plus space as metal and commodity prices feel the heat from the Russia-Ukraine situation. Even during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, gold had broken through $2,000, doubling down on its status as an ultimate safe-haven asset.
Through it all India’s shoppers have continued their preference for the yellow metal, and last year shoppers were grabbing any opportunity to pick up more gold if prices softened a bit.
The retailer has its biggest store network in the home state of Kerala, but has been adding quite a presence in other key cities and states within the country.
Second big jeweller IPO
This will be the second IPO from a leading gold retailer in India, after Kalyan Jewellers came out with its offer in March last year. Kalyan has an extensive presence in key cities in India and also emerged as a big contender in the UAE since its entry in 2013.
Alukkas plans to use the IPO funds to pay down debt – “Ideally, I would like to be debt-free at the first opportunity. This is where the public offer will help, and we also have a few store openings planned in India.”
More UAE stores
In the post-COVID-19 phase, the group consolidated its network in the UAE and Gulf, shuttering non-performing outlets. Now, it is back in expansion mode, with multiple store openings ahead in the UAE and elsewhere.
“These two years, we had not focused enough on adding to the retail presence in the UAE,” said Alukkas. “We will change that – and there is a lot of good that will happen to the gold retailers when the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) between UAE and India comes into force in May.
“Importing gold from India can be done without the 5 per cent import duty, and that’s going to be a massive plus.”
And by July or August, there will be the IPO – and it’s a most assured Joy Alukkas who will be ready for it.