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France's OVHcloud re-commits to IPO after fire, gives no timetable

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Fire destroys servers at French data company OVHcloud in Strasbourg

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - French cloud computing services provider OVHcloud re-committed on Monday to an initial public offering (IPO) on Euronext's Paris stock exchange but provided no timetable and no fundraising target.

The family-owned company had initially announced its plans in March, two days before a major blaze destroyed one of its data centres in eastern France - a disaster that had raised concerns about its capacity to go public.

On Monday it reconfirmed its plans, and disclosed for the first time an annual core operating profit, saying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation an amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to 255 million euros ($309 million) in 2020.

It did not provide a comparable figure for 2019.

Sales totalled 632 million euros in 2020, OVHcloud said, reflecting a growth of about 5% from a year earlier, according to a 2019 revenue figure given earlier to reporters.

This compares with the 30% yearly net sales growth reported by Amazon Web Services, Amazon's cloud computing branch, which is the world's market leader. Amazon, along with Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud, dominate the sector.

OVHcloud said in its statement that its revenues grew at an average annual rate of over 20% in the last 10 years.

The blaze, which is still being investigated, disrupted millions of websites, knocking out government agencies' portals, banks, shops, news websites and a chunk of the .FR web space, according to internet monitors.

The company later had to shut down two other data centres at the same site in Strasbourg after smoke was detected at an unconnected battery room.

Based in Roubaix near Belgium, OVHcloud employs 2,450 people and has more than 30 data centres worldwide.

French politicians have championed OVHcloud as a possible alternative to U.S. cloud services providers, but it has so far lacked the scale and financial clout to dent their market share.

U.S. investment firms KKR and TowerBrook Capital Partners currently own 20% of OVHcloud's capital, after a combined 250 million euro-investment in 2016. Klaba's family owns the rest of the shares.

($1 = 0.8260 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Andrew Heavens)