* Laybuy shares to start trading at 12 PM local time (0200
* IPO funds to be used for growth in the United Kingdom
* BNPL firms benefiting from an online shopping boom due to
Sept 7 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Laybuy is listing
in Australia on Monday at a time when the buy-now-pay-later
sector is being propelled by an online shopping boom sparked by
COVID-19, forging one of the hottest investor spaces during the
The explosive growth hit a roadblock last week when PayPal
Holdings announced its entry, causing a sector-wide
sell-off in Australia and exposed the frailty of these
high-priced companies, which are heralded as disruptors of
Laybuy's initial public offering (IPO) raised A$80 million
($58 million), and the company will use some of it to fund
growth in the United Kingdom, a market already flush with larger
competitors such as Afterpay and Sweden's Klarna.
"I think the reality is in the UK, there are only three
players, and Laybuy is one of them," Gary Rohloff, Laybuy's
co-founder and managing director, told Reuters.
The company had initially planned to list earlier this year
but delayed those plans after the pandemic struck, only
revisiting them after the sector's popularity grew rapidly among
customers and investors.
Laybuy is selling about 56.8 million shares at A$1.41 per
share and will begin trading at 0200 GMT.
Founded four years ago, Laybuy allows shoppers to buy goods
and settle their dues over six interest-free weekly instalments,
and makes the most of its money by charging merchants a
And unlike some rivals, they conduct credit checks on their
largely millennial customers, which Rohloff says can improve
their credit scores.
The loss-making company also partners with a number of
English Premier League football clubs including Manchester
United, Manchester City and Arsenal. Laybuy currently has close
to 500,000 active customers as of June.
According to the company's prospectus, it has a unit in the
United States, signalling a possible expansion into a country
seen as the sector's largest growth market.
($1 = 1.3765 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by