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Israel's bourse joins stream of IPO delays

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange dealing with internal matters after selling a stake to a New York-based investment fund; IPO moved to next year

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The Israeli exchange has identified 50-60 companies that could consider dual listings, with the first one likely to take place in the first half of 2019.

London

THE Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is joining a list of companies delaying initial public offerings during a period of intense volatility in global equity markets.

"We had a plan to do the IPO before the end of 2018. We already have a draft prospectus. But we decided to postpone," chief executive officer Ittai Ben-Zeev said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "I can guarantee that the IPO will not take place in 2018."

The TASE chief was visiting Singapore several months after the Israeli bourse partnered with Singapore Exchange Ltd to allow Israeli technology firms to pursue dual listings there. The Israeli exchange has identified 50-60 companies that could consider dual listings, with the first one likely to take place in the first half of 2019, he said.

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Mr Ben-Zeev, who earlier this year said the Tel Aviv bourse IPO could take place in November or December, now expects it to happen only next year. The decision was taken not because of recent market turmoil but because the TASE is dealing with internal matters after selling a stake to New York-based investment fund Manikay Partners LLC. The deal was announced in April but only closed in August.

Mr Ben-Zeev said he does not foresee problems executing the offering eventually. The exchange is currently valued at about "US$150 million, maybe a little more, so I don't foresee problems with people buying at that valuation". He also raised the possibility of Singaporean companies selling bonds in Israel.

"We have a very strong bond market in Israel, and maybe companies here can come to Tel Aviv and raise debt, which is cheaper," he said.

Companies from Spain to Hong Kong and from Australia to India have said this month that they are putting IPO plans on hold.

Australian company Firetrail Absolute Return is withdrawing its offering due to concern about demand. Abu Dhabi shelved plans to offer a 25 per cent stake in Spanish oil refiner Cepsa - which would have been Europe's largest oil public offering in a decade - after investors balked at the valuation. Indian real estate company Lodha Developers Ltd postponed an IPO expected to raise about US$743 million, people with knowledge of the matter said, and OCC Cables Ltd said it won't proceed with a Hong Kong IPO due to adverse market conditions.

In the Netherlands, vehicle-fleet operator LeasePlan Corp last week cancelled an offering that could have valued it at as much US$8.1 billion, citing market conditions. Sonae SGPS SA said it would not proceed with the 412 million euro (S$654 million) offering of its Sonae MC unit, owner of Portugal's biggest supermarket chain, "due to current adverse conditions in international markets". And Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the online music arm of China's largest social media company, is pausing plans for a public offering in the US, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week.

At the same time, some companies are proceeding with plans to list. SoftBank Group Corp has picked banks including Nomura Holdings Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Deutsche Bank AG as lead underwriters for a three trillion yen (S$37 billion) IPO of its Japanese wireless business, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Business-planning software company Anaplan Inc, which raised US$263.5 million in an initial public offering, soared about 43 per cent in its US trading debut last week, giving the San Francisco-based company a market value of almost US$3 billion. Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc are solidifying plans for IPOs next year. BLOOMBERG