Tech

Russia's Yandex says it's learning lessons from Lyft for its own ride-hailing IPO

Key Points
  • Speaking with CNBC on Friday in Moscow, Yandex CFO Greg Abovsky declined to specify a timeline for the IPO of Yandex.Taxi — even whether it would come this year — but said the offering remains part of the company's plans.
  • Although Yandex.Taxi and Lyft offer similar services, Abovsky said his company was not overly concerned by the performance of the U.S. outfit.
  • Lyft shares initially sold at a price of $72 at its IPO, but they're now changing hands at about $56.
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Yandex CFO sees lessons to be learnt from Lyft's IPO

Russian tech giant Yandex is still planning an initial public offering for its ride-hailing business, and it's not been deterred by Lyft's struggling stock, according to a top exec.

Speaking with CNBC on Friday in Moscow, Yandex CFO Greg Abovsky declined to specify a timeline for the IPO of Yandex.Taxi — even whether it would come this year — but said the offering remains part of the company's plans.

"As far as timing is concerned, that is something that we haven't nailed down, but we are trying to get ourselves ready, so that we are ready to push the button whenever the timing is right," he told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore.

"We are talking to a number of investment banks: getting advice from them, getting insights from them from the Lyft IPO, from the pending Uber IPO, to make a more informed decision."

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American ride-hailing service Lyft held its initial public offering last month. Although shares initially sold at a price of $72 on that day, they're now changing hands at about $56.

Although Yandex.Taxi and Lyft offer similar services, Abovsky said his company was not overly concerned by the performance of the U.S. outfit.

"I think there are definitely lessons to be learned from Lyft, and I think the situation Yandex.Taxi is in is a very different one," he said.

"First and foremost, we are the clear leader, we have very strong market position here," he added. "Number two is the business is profitable."

Cars of the Yandex.Drive car sharing service seen by St Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Peter Kovalev | TASS | Getty Images

According to Yandex, its ride-sharing business has been profitable in Russia starting from the third quarter of last year. And now, Abovsky said, its full taxi business — including expansion markets — is profitable.

"I think that's kind of a unique situation that makes this asset pretty attractive," he said.

Still, Abovsky acknowledged that some investors may be turned off by investing in a Russian company such as Yandex.

"There's definitely a group of investors who are much more focused on U.S. markets, on Asian markets, who for some reason cannot touch a company whose main operations are in Russia," he said. "But at the same time, there's a very large group of investors who are focused on the value that's encapsulated inside of Yandex and are trying to do the work ... and find, sort of, the hidden value that's in there."

Being a Russian company, he said, "creates opportunities, as well as it actually does turn some people off."