line.jpg
Photograph: Line.me

Japan’s leading messaging application provider Line made a robust debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday in Japan’s largest initial public offering this year.

Shares in Line were fetching 4,900 yen (46.3 dollars) at the opening bell and ended the day at 4,345 yen, up 31.7 per cent from the offering price of 3,300 yen, after rising as much as 51.5 per cent in the morning.

In New York, the shares ended Thursday, the first day of trading, at 41.58 dollars, up 27 per cent from its initial public offering price of 32.84 dollars per share.

Based on the closing price in Tokyo, Line, a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korean internet search giant Naver, was valued at more than 900 billion yen.

“Line shares debuted above the IPO prices in New York and Tokyo and this is giving us a sense of optimism,” Maki Sawada, vice president of the investment research and investor services department at Nomura Securities, told Kyodo News agency.

The Tokyo-based company became the first Japanese company to go public simultaneously in Tokyo and New York markets to expand markets overseas and roll out new services.

Line, launched in 2011, said the number of active users stood at 218 million worldwide as of the end of March.

The messaging app has been popular in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, while a steady increase in the number of users was seen in Indonesia, the company said.

Line provides free calls and messaging, while boosting revenues from advertisements and sales of games and digital stickers.

Line said Friday it posted a net loss of 122 million yen in the January-to-March quarter, compared with a net loss of 1.89 billion yen in the same period last year.

The company also booked an operating profit of 53.4 billion yen, compared with an operating profit of 14.2 billion yen the year before, while sales jumped 19 per cent to 33.5 billion yen.

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