Philippine bourse to aim for more Reits and IPOs this year on hopes of post-Covid recovery

Published Tue, Jan 5, 2021 · 05:50 AM


SEVEN Philippine firms plan to go public or offer real estate investment trusts (Reits) this year, the country's stock exchange said on Monday, representing a spurt in capital market activity in an economy still shaken by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippines, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies before the pandemic, has long struggled to attract firms to its stock market, with just seven initial public offerings (IPOs) in the past three years.

However, in 2021, at least three companies will go public and four property firms will conduct Reit offerings, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) president and chief executive Ramon Monzon said in a statement.

He did not identify the companies.

Last November, DoubleDragon Properties Corp said it planned to raise as much as 14.7 billion pesos (S$384.1 million) through a Reit in February.

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Reits manage real estate assets such as hotels, office buildings and shopping malls that regularly generate profit. They are attractive to investors seeking regular dividends.

Mr Monzon said: "Although the current economic environment remains fragile because of the unpredictability of the Covid-19 situation, we choose to be optimistic."

He added that restoring investor confidence will continue to be a challenge.

The bourse will relax listing rules this year to attract more companies, he added.

New features will include short-selling, added sector classifications and indices, and a data-analytics platform, he said.

At 272, the bourse lists the lowest number of companies among its major South-east Asian peers.

Funds raised through the bourse rose 2.9 per cent in 2020 to 104 billion pesos, mainly through IPOs and follow-on share sales, bourse data showed.

The Philippines' broader stock index declined 8.6 per cent last year, plunging as much as 41 per cent in March last year during the novel coronavirus-induced global market sell-down. REUTERS


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