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Thai, Philippine firms lead revival in South-east Asia IPOs


THAI and Philippine companies are leading a regional pick-up in initial public offerings (IPOs), spurred by growing investor interest in firms focused on South-east Asian consumers.

Asset World Corp, the hospitality and property firm listed by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, and Philippine home furnishing retailer AllHome Corp raised US$1.6 billion and US$285 million, respectively.

Asset World made its market debut on Thursday, with shares trading 0.83 per cent higher than its IPO price at 6.05 baht each. The company plans to use proceeds to double hotel rooms and retail space.

In the Philippines, AllHome became the third company to tap the local market in 2019, compared with just one IPO in 2018, and its shares debuted 1.04 per cent higher at 11.62 pesos on Thursday.

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The home furnishing retailer, owned by the Philippines' richest man, Manuel Villar, raised 12.937 billion pesos (S$345 million). An option to sell 168.75 million over-allotment shares could beef up the IPO to US$285 million.

"The home improvement industry in the Philippines is under penetrated so we thought of introducing a retail concept with global standards which eventually complements our expertise as the largest homebuilder in the country," Villar, AllHome's chairman, said in a statement.

AllHome operates 27 stores and plans to at least double its selling space by end-2020.

Asset World Corporation was the largest IPO by a Thai firm, while AllHome was the Philippines' biggest in three years.

Singapore still leads on overall first time share sales in South-east Asia in 2019, but it has achieved this mainly through offerings of real estate and business trusts.

In Thailand, 11 companies raised a total of US$1.9 billion from January to Oct 4, compared with five firms raising less than US$100 million in the same period a year ago, Refinitiv data showed. The data excludes real estate and business trusts.

"We expect Thailand to be one of the stronger IPO markets in 2020. Some more large IPOs have started preparations this year and are set to list next year," said Ho Cheun Hon, head of South-east Asia equity capital markets at Credit Suisse.

He said international fund managers continued to be attracted by the growth in consumption across Southeast Asia.

Half of Asset World Corporation's shares were subscribed by 13 cornerstone investors, including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, which put in about US$300 million.

Bankers said the 2020 deal pipeline for Thailand included fund raising by a unit of the country's biggest retailer Central Group, a retail arm of oil company PTT Pcl and others.

PTT's retail IPO will give investors exposure to 2,000 coffee shops, gas stations and auto repair shops.

Bangkok Commercial Asset Manager, which handles distressed debt, has also filed to list, offering a niche business as there are only two publicly traded debt collectors in Thailand.

"Thai institutions and retail investors are more focused at home ... and there is a lot of capital looking for good investments," SCB executive vice president Veena Lertnimitr said.

AllHome hired UBS as the sole global coordinator, and joint bookrunner with CLSA and Credit Suisse. China Bank Capital and PNB Capital are the local underwriters. REUTERS

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