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No Signboard seafood restaurant to raise up to S$35 million in Catalist IPO

SEAFOOD restaurant chain No Signboard Holdings is headed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange which could value the company at up to S$129.5 million.

The family-owned business, famed for its white pepper crab, expects to raise up to S$35 million from the sale of 125 million new shares and vendor shares at S$0.23 to S$0.28 apiece, according to a term sheet seen by The Business Times.

Bookbuilding is expected to close next Friday, with pricing to be fixed on Nov 23. No Signboard expects to list on the Catalist board on Nov 30.

No Signboard is signalling its intention to list just one week after Japanese restaurant group RE&S Holdings did the same. Observers said that the two firms are probably hoping to replicate the IPO success of seafood chain Jumbo Group.

Catalist-listed Jumbo, when it listed two years ago, was one of the most sought after deals and eight times subscribed. Although Jumbo's shares are down about 6 per cent this year, it still trades at more than double its IPO price of S$0.25, at a forward price to earnings (PE) ratio of 23.5 times, according to Bloomberg.

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In the nine months to June 30, No Signboard made a net profit of S$6.2 million, up 7.8 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Although restaurant sales fell 7.2 per cent to S$15.8 million, the group recorded one-month beer sales of S$1 million after the acquisition of the beer business in June.

On a pro forma basis, net profit in the nine-month period would have been S$5.2 million on revenue of S$21.4 million.

Assuming that No Signboard's pro forma earnings in 2017 are annualised, it could be looking at a listing PE of somewhere between 15 to 19 times.

No Signboard's IPO size amounts to 27 per cent of the group's post-IPO share capital.

The IPO shares comprise a cornerstone tranche of 59.3 million shares and a placement tranche of 62 million shares. Only 3.75 million shares are being offered to the public.

No Signboard owns three restaurants in Singapore and one franchisee. In the past, it had opened restaurants in Jakarta, Macau and Hong Kong, but later suspended its overseas expansion efforts due to "the challenging business environment" in those places.

It entered the beer business in June by acquiring Singapore-based brewery Danish Breweries, which brews the Draft Denmark lager.

No Signboard will use the IPO proceeds to build a new brewery in Indonesia and grow its range of in-house beer brands. It plans to secure a partner for this venture next year.

It also intends to launch a new Chinese casual dining chain by opening two restaurants in the second half of next year. Jurong East and Punggol were named as possible locations.

The group also started a new ready meal business in April, which it intends to scale up by expanding its network of Ma2 Shop vending machines across the island.

Ma2 Shop is owned by No Signboard's chairman and chief executive officer Sam Lim, and his sister and chief operating officer Lim Lay Hoon. Their grandmother, Ong Kim Hoi, created No Signboard's signature white pepper crab dish in the 1970s.

Mr Lim and Ms Lim are also the controlling shareholders of No Signboard.

RHT Capital is the issue manager and sponsor, OCBC Bank is the bookrunner, underwriter and placement agent.

Cornerstone investors include Kenneth Goi, executive director of property group GSH Corp and David Lam, the founder of bulk container maker Goodpack.

Asian Opportunities Absolute Return Master Fund, JPMorgan Asset Management (Singapore), LB Asset Management, Lion Global Investors, OSC Investments and Qilin Asset Management are also cornerstone investors.

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