Browser developer Opera’s shares pop in US market debut

Opera, founded in 1995, was originally owned by Norwegian software firm Otello Corp ASA. (Reuters pic)

BENGALURU: Web browser developer Opera Ltd’s shares rose as much as 30% in their US market debut on Friday, giving the Norway-based company a market value of about US$1.72 billion.

The company’s shares opened at US$14.34, about 20% above its initial public offering price of US$12.00 per American depositary share.

Opera, founded in 1995, was originally owned by Norwegian software firm Otello Corp ASA before being bought by a consortium of Chinese investors in 2016.

The company has pioneered several innovations that later became common in major browsers such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking, which helped users control an earlier generation of in-your-face ads and malware disguised as advertising.

Opera competes with companies such as Alphabet Inc , Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.

Opera, which has about 322 million monthly active users, said its mobile browsers are mostly used in Asia and Africa, while its PC browsers are preferred in North America and Europe.

The company reported net income of US$6.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of US$168,000 a year earlier.

Operating revenue in the quarter rose to US$39.45 million from US$25.48 million. Most of the company’s revenue is generated through agreements with advertisements and search partners.

Opera’s IPO of 9.6 million ADSs was priced on Friday at the top end of its indicated range, raising about US$115 million.

Each ADS is equal to two ordinary shares, and the company has 220.3 million ordinary shares outstanding after the offering.

The proceeds from the offering will be used for research and development, strategic partnerships and distribution and marketing, the company said in its IPO filing.

CICC and Citigroup were the underwriters for the offering.