Xero Australia Boss Reveals How An ASX Float Helped It Grow And Why It's Now Looking To List In The US

Incoming chairman Chris Liddell / Xero

New Zealand accounting software provider Xero today made a series of executive appointments suggesting that a US stock market listing could be less than two years away.

Xero listed on the New Zealand stock exchange in July 2007 and on the Australian stock market in November 2012, almost two years after entering the market.

Xero Australia managing director Chris Ridd said the company “[liked] listing in countries in which we operate”, and planned to become more US-centric given the size of the market there.

“We’ve got momentum in the US for sure,” he told Business Insider Australia. “Our expectation is if we continue to see the same growth and momentum, we would certainly consider a US IPO.”

Xero is now trading on the ASX at $36.82, almost eight times its listing price of $4.65 in 2012. The company said at the time that the Australian float was not a capital raising play.

Ridd explained that the Australian listing was a board decision that helped the company grow by “making stock more accessible to customers and partners” while also helping to raise its profile.

He expected the same benefits from a US stock market debut, adding that newly appointed chairman and former Microsoft and General Motors CFO Chris Liddell was well-versed in the various regulations Xero would have to comply with in preparation for an IPO.

Forbes reports that a US listing is likely to occur after Xero reaches about $US100 million in turnover. The company posted revenue of $NZ39 million in the 2013 financial year.

Given the size of the US market, Ridd noted that Xero was likely to move some decision-making to San Francisco. Xero had more than 100 staff in the US as of October 2013.

He said Xero was a “challenger” in the US market, which is currently led by Intuit. “Listing over there in the right timeframe really puts us on the map and will raise [our] profile,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that we want to become more of a US-centric company … as the US [business] takes off, it will probably make sense to have decisions made there.”

Liddell replaces New Zealand-based Sam Knowles as chairman. Xero today also appointed US-based HP executive Bill Veghte as non-executive director and PayPal vice president Peter Karpas in the new role of CEO, North America.

“Our strategy is to increase US representation on our board,” founder Rod Drury said. “These three high calibre appointments are all significant additions to our American-based leadership team and position us strongly in the US and globally.”

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