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KinderWorld puts IPO plans on hold, eyes 'more favourable time'

KINDERWORLD is putting its initial public offering (IPO) plans on hold, the company said on Tuesday.

The Vietnam-based private-school operator said in a statement: "KinderWorld International Group (KIG) and its advisers are evaluating the current market performance and geopolitical climate, and have retimed the proposed IPO to better tap the Singapore capital markets at a more favourable time."

It added: "It is business as usual at KIG and we remain confident about the prospects of our business. Our balance sheet remains healthy with sufficient funds to continue to grow in our targeted markets, and we are committed to delivering results and providing investors with long-term, sustainable value."

Singapore's IPO market has been soft in general, with Prime US Reit recently downsizing its offering size. KinderWorld is probably taking a wait-and-see approach until the market can support its desired valuation, stock watchers said.

At management roadshows, KinderWorld tested an IPO price range of 25.9 to 30.1 times its pro forma earnings per share for the financial year ended June 30, 2018. But the market could only support a price-to-earnings ratio below that range, one observer said.

For comparison, MindChamps, an operator and franchisor of premium-range pre-school centres in Singapore, went public in 2017 at 37 times its historical earnings. It now trades at 23.4 times its trailing earnings.

KinderWorld had aimed to raise up to S$71.4 million from a mainboard listing on the Singapore Exchange, to value the company at between S$300.5 million and S$349.3 million.