Shares in Polygiene, the Swedish company specializing in odor control with a focus on sports and outdoor products, started trading on the Nasdaq First North market on March 14, after a share issue that raised about 22.5 million Swedish kronor (€2.4m-$2.7m) in December.
In the fundraising process, the company's shares were priced at SEK 7.5, amounting to a post-money valuation of SEK 145 million (€15.7m-$17.6m). But the company's shares command a much higher price on First North: They are trading at about SEK 13.5 million at the time of writing, which puts the company's market capitalization at more than SEK 260 million (€28.1m-$31.5m).
Nasdaq First North is an exchange dedicated to relatively small and fast-growing companies. The listing enables shareholders to monetize their holdings, it gives the company a financial and managerial quality seal and it could also be used to fund potential acquisitions with shares.
Polygiene had about 19.3 million shares spread among 160 shareholders at the end of February, the largest of them being JP Morgan Bank Luxembourg with a stake of 16.5 percent. Several of the company's board members also held stakes of more than 3 percent.
Working with customers such as Patagonia, Adidas, Peak Performance, Berghaus and La Sportiva, Polygiene reported sales of about SEK 51.5 million (€5.6m-$6.2m) in 2015. This was an increase of 47 percent, achieved with existing partners as well as new customers.
The turnover yielded an operating profit of SEK 5.6 million (€0.6m-$0.7m), amounting to an operating profit margin of 10.9 percent, up by 0.4 percentage points for the year. Costs increased by 44 percent, chiefly due to the increased cost of materials, along with investments in staff and marketing. After-tax profit amounted to SEK 9.2 million (€1.0m-$1.1m), with tax loss carry-forwards of SEK 24.1 million at the end of the year.
The extra money raised last year was meant to increase investments in marketing and technical support, and to explore opportunities in complementary markets. The company is targeting growth in Asia, where it already has partners in South Korea, Japan and on a smaller scale in China. Another target is the hunting and fishing category, chiefly in the U.S. market.
Colleen Nipkow, who has a long track record in the U.S. industry at companies such as Scarpa North America and Gregory Mountain Products, became Polygiene's marketing director for the Americas in November. Edmund Lee, who previously worked for Polygiene's distributor in China, was appointed in January to work with the sourcing organizations of Polygiene's customers and provide technical support to distributors, from an office in Hong Kong.
Established in Malmö, Polygiene was spun off in 2006 from Perstorp, a larger industrial company. Apart from odor control, its sales pitch focuses on environmental benefits, since products treated with Polygiene supposedly require less washing. The product is Bluesign-approved and on the Oeko-Tex list of approved products.
Polygiene points out that the market for functional clothing is expanding rapidly and that demand for garments made from synthetic materials is increasing. It argues that such products require odor treatment and that Polygiene allows users to wear them several times before washing. Polygiene is led by chief executive Christian von Uthmann.