The Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX) says it has been discussing an initial public offering (IPO) with Indonesian online travel agent Traveloka. The startup might beat Indonesia’s other unicorns — Go-Jek, Tokopedia, and Bukalapak, to an IPO, I Gede Nyoman Yetna, the IDX director of appraisals, had told local media.
According to Nyoman, IDX has been discussing this matter with Traveloka since last year. But Traveloka has been cautious not to reveal a timeline or make any commitments. Its PR director, Sufintri Rahayu, did not counter Nyoman’s statement but said Traveloka is still exploring opportunities to become a public company. “We’re still exploring but in the short term there are no programs or plans to release our shares soon,” Rahayu said in a press statement.
The IDX has been encouraging unicorn companies like Go-Jek, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, and Traveloka to go public. Nyoman said that IDX has prepared to accommodate digital companies which included making adjustments to the requirements for a public listing.
As long as there are still other fundraising opportunities, startups might fare better staying private longer.
Once public, companies must be very careful with their actions because they’ll be even more scrutinized by the market, said Fithra Faisal, a digital economic analyst from the University of Indonesia. “For example, cases like Achmad Zaky’s political Twitter blunder some time ago could cause a significant drop in Bukalapak’s stock price if it was already public,” Faisal told KrASIA. The founder of the e-commerce startup was heavily criticized for a Tweet that was seen as coming out in favor of one particular political candidate.
In addition, public companies must report financial details which expose them to competitors. This could be a problem considering digital companies in Indonesia are still growing and the competition is very tight right now, Faisal points out.
According to him Traveloka also has a good chance to list on foreign stock exchanges, especially considering that financial infrastructure and funding sources in Indonesia are not as advanced as in developed countries. Other Southeast Asian tech companies, like Sea, have chosen to list in the US, or on the Australian Stock Exchange.
IDX’s expectation for unicorn companies go public domestically is understandable, he added, as it can strengthen Indonesia’s digital economy in the long run. “If unicorns go public, it will encourage other companies to do the same. The competition will also continue to grow and stimulate consistent improvements at the company, and it can strengthen the ecosystem.”
Editor: Nadine Freischlad