Shares of On Holding AG, a Swiss sneaker company backed by tennis giant Roger Federer, extended their gains Thursday by another 10%, after a stellar first day of trading that saw them soar nearly 46% .
On’s initial public offering priced at $24 a share, above the proposed range of $20 to $22, which had already been boosted from an earlier range of $18 to $20. The company raised $610.6 million at a valuation of $6.5 billion.
The company offered 31.1 million Class A shares and underwriters have the option to purchase another 3.82 million. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Co. LLC, UBS Investment Bank, Credit Suisse, Baird, Stifel and Telsey Advisory Group were the underwriters on the IPO.
On plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes such as working capital and operating expenses.
The Zurich-based athletic company launched in January 2010 with professional athlete and On
co-founder Olivier Bernhard setting his mind on selling a better running shoe.
By July 2010, specialty stores were carrying On shoes. In 2013, Marc Maurer and Martin Hoffmann were brought on as fellow co-founders. Today, Maurer is co-chief executive with Hoffmann, who also serves as chief financial officer.
Today On merchandise, which also includes apparel and accessories, is sold at 8,100 shops in 60 countries, including Germany, the U.S. and China, and through On’s direct-to-consumer channels. More than one-third of On’s net sales in 2020 and for the first six months of 2021 (37.7% and 36.6%, respectively) were generated through the company’s direct-to-consumer platforms.
On had a net loss of CHF27.5 million in 2020 (US$29.9 million, according to a currency conversion done on Wednesday) after a loss of CHF1.5 million in 2019. Net sales in 2020 totaled CHF425.3 million, up from CHF267.1 million in 2019.
For the first six months of this year, On’s pro forma net income was CHF3.8 million and pro forma sales totaled CHF315.5 million. The company does not expect to pay a dividend any time soon.
On describes itself as a premium product and has taken steps, such as selectively choosing where items are sold, to maintain that premium status. Among the retailers where On gear can be found are R.E.I. and Fleet Feet.
“The majority of our wholesale partners are premium specialty stores that operate less than five retail stores and play an important role in establishing and reinforcing On’s credibility in their respective communities,” the company’s prospectus said.
Co-CEO Marc Maurer notes that the lowest On price point is $130. Nearly half of 2020 sales (49%) were in the U.S. and 44% were in Europe.
“We are fortunate to have already gone out to 60 countries,” Maurer told MarketWatch on the company’s first trading day. “We have the opportunity to grow with that premium price point,” the prospectus said.
Maurer described the company’s IPO as a “stepping stone” to further growth, and it’s now eyeing international expansion and investment in sustainability and innovation. The company’s CloudTec technology, for example, is designed for both comfort and running performance.
During COVID, Maurer says more people began running and moving, which drove interest in On merchandise. The company has also seen an evolution from running sneaker, to outdoor shoe, to an all-day use sneaker that works for customers looking for something to wear as they make their way through the day.
“The customers emerge over time,” he said. “It’s a broad customer. What unites them all is the inspiration to move, go out, experience nature.”
On aims to take share in the $300 billion global sportswear category with help from social media, events, word-of-mouth recommendations as well as those from athletes, tastemakers and others helping the brand gain name recognition. The company has co-developed a line of shoes with Federer.
However, the company faces competition from huge players in the space, one of the risk factors it highlights in its prospectus.
Another risk On shares is in the supply chain. Though On describes its supply chain as “adaptable” in the prospectus, the company has been vulnerable to the shutdowns in Vietnam due to COVID. The situation has created challenges for athletic competitors including Nike Inc.
and Adidas AG
For the six months to June 2021, all of the company’s shoes were made in Vietnam. In 2020, 97% of the companies shoes were made in Vietnam .
Maurer is confident that facilities will reopen soon. “We have always seen more demand than supply. We see this as a short-term topic,” he said.
One other risk the company faces is a material weakness in the internal controls of its financial reporting. It was identified during preparation of the materials for the year ending December 31, 2020 and concerns “ineffective design of controls to address segregation of certain accounting duties within our financial reporting function, including the absence of functionality within our legacy ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems to require the review of journal entries, and certain reconciliations for which a formal review process had not been established,” according to the prospectus.
On is putting a new ERP system in place and is bringing on third-party advisors, but warns there could be “significant costs” to fixing the issue.