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Dialogue Health shares surge 20% on TSX debut

Dialogue Health Technologies Inc. shares surged in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Montreal-based telemedicine company priced 8.34 million shares in its IPO at $12 each to generate aggregate gross proceeds of about $100 million, but its stock jumped by 25 per cent to reach $15 in mid-morning trading Tuesday.

“This IPO is an exciting new chapter for Dialogue,” said Cherif Habib, the company’s chief executive, in a statement.

“We will continue growing our platform, launching new health and wellness programs and bringing our solution to millions of people worldwide. A warm welcome to our new shareholders and partners joining us on this journey.”

For Habib, Tuesday was a moment that took five years to materialize and was given an extra boost by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2016, when Habib founded Dialogue with Alexis Smirnov and Anna Chif, the company has been rapidly growing and picking up partners keen on remotely connecting health professionals with Canadians seeking medical advice.

The health crisis kicked those trends into high gear and generated a surge in interest around telemedicine as Canadians moved to work from home and limit their exposure to the virus.

Dialogue was well poised to take advantage. While others were laying off workers and preparing to cut wages and hours last March, Habib hired at least 250 staff.

By July, he and Dialogue had hooked Sun Life Financial Inc. too. The Toronto-based insurance provider became minority owner of Dialogue through a commercial partnership that involved a $32.7-million equity investment and gave Sun Life rights to acquire additional equity later.

A prospectus Dialogue filed along with its IPO showed it has partnered with Canada Life Assurance Co., Beneva and Desjardins and counts National Bank of Canada, Lightspeed POS Inc., Ubisoft, Samsung, Sobeys and Sephora as customers.

Dialogue’s prospectus also revealed that its offering could see shareholders Sun Life, White Star Capital’s Fund VI and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures Fund VI SCS own about 14, 13 and 10 per cent of the company’s stock, respectively.

Under the offering, Dialogue’s underwriters have a right to buy more than 1.25 million or $15-million worth of stock from investors.

The offering was led by National Bank Financial Inc., RBC Capital Markets, Scotiabank and TD Securities Inc. and includes CIBC World Markets Inc., Desjardins Securities Inc., Canaccord Genuity Corp., iA Private Wealth Inc., INFOR Financial Inc. and Laurentian Bank Securities Inc.

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