By M. Sriram
GURGAON (Reuters) – SoftBank-backed Indian educational technology firm Eruditus is planning to shift its domicile from Singapore to India for a stock market listing, its CEO told Reuters.
Eruditus’ edtech platform offers thousands of online courses from more than 80 universities including Harvard on topics such as artificial intelligence, data science and software coding, in competition with NYSE-listed Coursera.
“The rich multiples of Indian stock markets, and that there’s so much liquidity and capital, makes an India IPO more attractive,” CEO Ashwin Damera said in interview on the sidelines of an Indian edtech conference near New Delhi.
Though the company has started work on an Indian IPO, Damera said any potential listing is at least two years away.
India’s $4 trillion stock market has been pulling in billions of dollars of domestic and foreign money as investors flock to a fast-growing alternative to China.
IPOs in India last year outpaced Hong Kong listings despite falling 16%, and the momentum is seen growing this year in hopes of political stability following upcoming elections this year, Reuters has reported.
India’s benchmark stock indexes rose nearly 20% in 2023, outpacing many global indexes.
Many Indian companies in recent years registered abroad in countries like Singapore in the hopes of better and easier access to capital.
However the recent strength in Indian markets, better access to capital and a better regulatory environment are prompting some companies to shift their domicile to India as a necessary prerequisite to listing locally.
Such moves though come with tax implications. Walmart last year said it paid the Indian government nearly $1 billion in tax owed after its digital payments Indian company, PhonePe, shifted its headquarters from Singapore to India.
Eruditus has already appointed accounting firm EY to manage and advise on moving its domicile, according to sources with direct knowledge. EY did not respond to Reuters queries.
The Indian company is also evaluating four to five companies for acquisitions currently, with the aim of boosting its talent pool, the CEO added.
Eruditus has raised $585 million in primary capital to date, with Accel and Prosus among its investors. It reported revenue of 33.20 billion rupees ($400.3 million) for the financial year ending June 2023, up 75% from a year before.
(Reporting by M. Sriram; Writing by Dhwani Pandya; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Jan Harvey)