Klarna gets sales boost from U.S. as pandemic sends shoppers online

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    <p>By Supantha Mukherjee and Helena Soderpalm</p> <p>Aug 27 (Reuters) – Swedish online lender Klarna saw the value of transactions carried out via its payment platform grow by 44% in the first half of the year as customers spent more online during the COVID-19 pandemic, its chief executive said.</p> <p>CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told Reuters the bulk of that growth had come from the United States.
    The group, whose leading markets are currently Germany and Sweden, launched a U.S. shopping app in 2019 and is investing heavily in that region.</p> <p>”The United States is very soon going to become our largest market,” Siemiatkowski said in an interview, adding that that could happen as soon as the end of the year.</p> <p>The CEO said a stock market listing for Klarna could happen in one or two years and would likely be in the United States.</p> <p>”To be listed in the U.S., it makes sense to be an important U.S. business,” he said.</p> <p>”The prerequisites are coming into place for doing (the IPO). We’re definitely closer to being able to do that than we have been before.”</p> <p>Klarna’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) – the value of transactions made using its payment platform – rose to $22 billion in the first half of the year.</p> <p>Founded in 2005, the company allows shoppers to buy online through its merchant partners and settle the dues in four installments using its “buy now, pay later” service.</p> <p>Its core products are interest-free in the U.S.

    and UK markets, with merchants paying for its services.</p> <p>Klarna has about 85 million customers and 235,000 merchant partners, and competes with Australia’s AfterPay, Zip Co Ltd and privately held Affirm and QuadPay.</p> <p>One of Europe’s most richly valued financial technology companies, Klarna last raised funds in 2019 at a valuation of $5.5 billion and counts Sequoia, Bestseller, Dragoneer and goldprices.today Commonwealth Bank of Australia among its investors.</p> <p>Siemiatkowski declined to say whether the group was in talks with investors for a new round.

    “It’s not unlikely that it’s going to happen soon,” he said, however. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Jan Harvey)</p></div>
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