MOSCOW- Russian car-sharing company Delimobil plans to expand into markets in developing countries and to sell local franchises, its founder and main shareholder Vincenzo Trani told Reuters.
Delimobil, one of Russia's biggest car-sharing providers along with Yandex.Drive and others, has said it plans to list on the New York Stock early next year.
"Russia will definitely remain our main focus, but we will also expand our business abroad," Trani said in an interview. "We will take a mixed approach. We plan to expand using both our own model and franchises."
He said Delimobil was in talks with Qatar to launch a franchise of Anytime Prime, its service offering long-term car rentals.
Trani said there was interest from Uzbekistan in a classic car-sharing franchise. Countries from Asia and North Africa are interested in franchises or in Delimobil developing its own local business, he said.
Delimobil has more than 16,000 cars in Russia. It also operates in Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic under its Anytime brand.
"We are offering a car-sharing service to developing countries because it is a good tool for them to close the gap in mobility they have because people just can't afford to have as many cars as in developed countries," he said.
Last year, Delimobil said it planned to sell a minority stake to investors in a pre-placement before floating a 40% stake on the New York Stock Exchange to raise around $300 million early next year.
Russian bank VTB purchased up to 15% in Delimobil for $75 million this month.
"We will definitely continue our regional expansion (inside Russia)," CEO Elena Bekhtina told Reuters. The company operates in 10 Russian regions after recently launching in Kazan, she said.
Trani and Delimobil declined to talk about the IPO. Trani does not plan to sell his shares in the medium-term, he said. "We do not plan to cash out."
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; editing by Tom Balmforth and Jane Merriman) ((firstname.lastname@example.org))