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Interfax: Polish online communicator Gadu-Gadu to launch Ukrainian product at turn of Q1-Q2

23.2.2007 17:48
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WARSAW. FEBRUARY 23. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Polish online communicator Gadu-Gadu will launch the Ukrainian version of its communicator at the turn of the first and second quarters before it enters the Russian market possibly in 2007, the company's executive board member Piotr Pokrzywa told reporters.

"We want to launch the communicator in Ukraine at the turn of the first and second quarters," Pokrzywa said. "Our goal is to reach a position there that's similar to our current position in Poland."

According to Gemius research, Gadu-Gadu has around 6 mln users, around 50% of all Polish Internet surfers. Gadu-Gadu also wants to enter the Russian market after gaining experience in Ukraine.

"Ukraine will be a departure point for Russia," Pokrzywa said. "We would like to enter that market quite soon, possibly this year. Much depends on the success in Ukraine. Russia is a large market, but also a more difficult one."

Gadu-Gadu debuted on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on Friday, opening at PLN 28.3, 35% above the IPO price. The company raised PLN 75.1 mln in net IPO proceeds, with PLN 39 mln assigned for takeovers. Pokrzywa said Friday the company was negotiating with several acquisition targets.

"We would like to begin closing the transactions as soon as possible," he said. "The first information on the matter may appear in the second quarter."

Gadu-Gadu also wants to use some of the IPO proceeds to finance its market entry as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

"We would like to launch the MVNO business as soon as possible, but it is not likely within a month or two," Pokrzywa said. "We would like to start it this year, with effects visible next year."

The company also said its revenue growth rate and profitability would remain at levels seen over the past years. In 2005, Gadu-Gadu made PLN 3.2 mln in net profits on revenues of PLN 8.2 mln. The company had expected to make PLN 3.7 mln in net profits, up 15.62% versus 2005, on revenues of PLN 10.47 mln, up 27.68%.

"We hope further sales growth will be influenced by projects we began in 2005 and 2006, such as Gadu Radio and the [voice-over-Internet-protocol] VoIP service Gadu-Gadu Naglos," Pokrzywa said.

ČTK

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