The Business Times

Philippines' first billion dollar IPO seeks to tap into meat alternative boom

Published Thu, Mar 11, 2021 · 05:52 PM

[SINGAPORE] Food maker Monde Nissin is aiming to list its shares in the first half of this year, in the Philippines' first billion dollar IPO, sources said, as the company hopes to attract investors to its expanding overseas meat alternative business.

Last week, Monde Nissin filed for an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise up to 63 billion pesos (S$1.73 billion) at the top end of an indicative price range, kicking off what is expected to be a record year of fundraising for local firms.

It did not give a timeline for the IPO's launch.

The four-decade-old group's market leading position in the Philippines, with its ubiquitous Lucky Me! instant noodles and SkyFlakes biscuits, has propelled the family behind the conglomerate to the ranks of the country's richest.

Monde Nissin enjoys core profit margins of about 25 per cent in its entrenched local food business versus roughly 15 per cent at key rivals.

"Given the size of the IPO, global funds are very keen to look at it and there's interest from sustainability funds who want to deploy capital," said one source.

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Monde Nissin declined to comment.

With an eye on international expansion, the company, whose founders keep a very low public profile, acquired Britain's Quorn Foods for about US$830 million in 2015.

Monde Nissin plans to expand Quorn's capacity and reach in key markets such as the United states. The meats alternative business, comprising Quorn and Cauldron brands, contributed 22 per cent to Monde Nissin's net sales of US$1.4 billion last year.

"The way I see it, they are expanding their market. They are creating more avenues," said Manila-based Robert Ramos, trust group head at Rizal Commercial Banking.

"There's a lot of interest in green investment and ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) this day and age. That gives this particular issuer some advantage," said Mr Ramos.

The global meat substitutes market has surged over recent years on consumer concerns about health, sustainability and animal welfare, that have helped firms such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods lure record investments.

"The primary reason for the IPO is that the group sees significant growth opportunities for its business in Asia as well as in the UK," said another source.

Last year, Quorn struck a multi-year partnership with Liverpool Football club to offer meat-free meals on match days.

The sources who declined to be identified ahead of the listing, expected Monde Nissin to be valued at about US$6.5 billion at the top-end. Conglomerate San Miguel's food and beverage unit is valued at US$7.8 billion while snacks and beverage maker Universal Robina is valued at US$5.8 billion.

REUTERS

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