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Astra Linux, a Russian OS provider, to go public on Moscow Exchange

Astra Linux, a company that develops an operating system of the same name, announced its plans to list its shares on the Moscow Exchange this month.

The company, which supplies software solutions to Russian government entities and state-owned companies, said it was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Moscow Exchange in October 2023. The IPO is expected to raise the company’s profile and create new opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, according to CEO Ilya Sivtsev.

Astra Linux is one of the few Russian technology companies that have decided to go public amid the geopolitical tensions and sanctions that have affected the country’s equity capital markets. The company’s operating system is designed to meet the security and sovereignty requirements of the Russian government and critical infrastructure.

Astra Linux’s operating system is widely used by Russian state institutions and enterprises.

The company was founded in 2008 and has since developed an operating system based on Linux that can run on various devices, from personal computers to servers and embedded systems. The operating system is certified by the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control (FSTEC) and the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia, which means it can handle classified information up to the level of “top secret”.

Astra Linux, a Russian OS provider, to go public on Moscow Exchange

Astra Linux’s main customers are Russian government agencies and state-owned companies, such as the Ministry of Defense, the Federal Security Service, Rosatom, Gazprom, Roscosmos, and others. The company also provides software solutions for data protection, encryption, digital signature, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.

The company claims that its operating system is compatible with most popular applications and can run Windows programs through a virtual machine. It also boasts that its operating system is faster, more reliable, and more secure than other alternatives.

Astra Linux’s IPO could boost the Russian technology sector and attract more investors.

The company did not disclose how much it hoped to raise from the IPO or what valuation it was seeking. However, analysts estimated that the company could be worth around 15 billion roubles ($152.7 million) in 2022. The company said that existing shareholders would offer shares in the placement, with the IPO expected to result in a free-float of approximately 5%.

The IPO could be a rare opportunity for investors to gain exposure to the Russian technology sector, which has been largely isolated from the global market due to sanctions and political risks. The company could also benefit from the growing trend of import substitution and technological sovereignty in Russia, as well as the significant government support to the industry.

The IPO could also inspire other Russian technology companies to follow suit and tap into the domestic capital market. However, some challenges remain, such as the low liquidity and volatility of the Moscow Exchange, the uncertainty over the regulatory environment, and the potential impact of further sanctions or conflicts on the business climate.

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