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London stock market debut slams trucking firm Eurowag into reverse

Eurowag, which recruited City grandee Paul Manduca (pictured) as chairman, slumped 10% on its London IPO

Shares in trucking service Eurowag tumbled as its debut on the stock market in London fell flat. The Czech business, which recruited City grandee Paul Manduca as chairman, had hoped to list with a value of £1.7billion on Thursday.

But the float was delayed by a day and saw Eurowag shares list at 150p – valuing the company at just over £1billion. Shares immediately tumbled and closed down 10 per cent at 135p, leaving Eurowag worth around £900million. The lacklustre float raised fresh questions over the state of the London market for so-called initial public offerings (IPOs) following a string of successes and failures in the past year.

Eurowag provides payment and technology services to hauliers.  Self-dubbed ‘the Uber of trucking’, it gives small trucking firms access to services and technology allowing them to streamline processes, similar to larger firms.

It lets smaller haulage companies – often family firms with no more than half a dozen lorries yet whose operations are cross-border – use efficient payment systems for fuel and tolls as well as insurance and VAT refund claim processes.

Chief executive Martin Vohanka, 45, founded the company in 1995. It has grown into an international technology firm with customers in 30 countries, mainly across Europe. 

Eurowag employs more than 1,000 staff and reported sales of £108m in 2020 as well as profits of £49million. 

It is backed by private equity giant TA Associates, which before the float owned 32.7 per cent while Vohanka owned 59.1 per cent. The firm hired 69-year-old Manduca as chairman to steer it through the float.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said IPOs often come with volatility and that the share price fall was not ‘too surprising’ given the discounted price and delayed listing.

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