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Hot stock: Eagle Hospitality Trust falls below IPO price in heavy trading

UNITS in Eagle Hospitality Trust (EHT) tumbled below their initial public offering (IPO) price of US$0.78 to hit a low of US$0.735 as at 3.06pm on Friday, when it made its debut on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange (SGX). 

This comes after the trust noted that the public offer tranche of its IPO was undersubscribed amid market volatility, resulting in the joint bookrunners and underwriters having to take up the bulk of its unsubscribed stapled securities.

By the close of the public offer on May 22, no applications were received for about 60 per cent or 26.6 million stapled securities, out of the 44.9 million available to the Singapore public for subscription. This translates to a subscription rate of 0.4 times for its public offer. 

"I think that market volatility and dipping sentiment among investors could have been a reason behind why the public tranche was not filled," a trader told The Business Times

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The counter debuted on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) at US$0.78 at 2pm on Friday, and was trading within a price range of US$0.735 to US$0.78 during the afternoon. Some 15.3 million shares exchanged hands, making it one of the most heavily traded counters on the Singapore bourse by mid-afternoon. 

EHT is a hospitality stapled group comprising Eagle Hospitality Reit (real estate investment trust) and Eagle Hospitality Business Trust.

It has an initial portfolio of 18 full-service hotel properties, with a total of 5,420 rooms and an aggregate valuation of about US$1.27 billion. Most are located in the 30 largest metro areas in the US, and almost all are branded Marriott, IHG and Hilton.

BT previously reported that EHT's IPO pricing of US$0.78 a unit turned out to be lower than an earlier indicative range of US$0.80 to US$0.81.

One market analyst noted that while the EHT's public offer being undersubscribed is "quite a disappointing outcome", this was not entirely unexpected, due to the close proximity in timing of ARA Hospitality Trust's IPO launch, and fatigue by the market and investors, given that both IPOs are so close to each other. 

Earlier this month, ARA US Hospitality Trust priced the IPO of its 38 Hyatt select-service US hotels at US$0.88 per stapled security, and began trading on May 9. As at 3.37pm on Friday, units in the trust were trading at US$0.87, up 0.5 US cent.

The analyst added that there might be lesser visibility and understanding of EHT's underlying assets, and noted that the downward revision of EHT's IPO price "usually sends a weaker signal" to the market. 

Nonetheless, Salvatore Takoushian, chief executive and president of the managers, told BT last week that the lower-than-indicated IPO price was to "attract certain investors" and offer "more potential upside" to investors.