Thailand, Philippine firms lead revival in Southeast Asia IPOs

Home furnishing retailer AllHome Corp’s shares debut at the Philippine stock market on Thursday raised 250.4 million pesos, or about $250 million. (Reuters)
Updated 10 October 2019

Thailand, Philippine firms lead revival in Southeast Asia IPOs

  • Asset World Corporation was the largest initial public offering by a Thai firm
  • Home furnishing retailer AllHome shares debut was the Philippines’ biggest in three years

SINGAPORE/BANGKOK: Thailand and Philippine companies are leading a regional pick-up in initial public offerings (IPOs), spurred by growing investor interest in firms focused on Southeast Asian consumers.
Asset World Corp, the hospitality and property firm listed by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, and Philippine home furnishing retailer AllHome Corp. raised $1.6 billion and $285 million, respectively.
Asset World made its market debut on Thursday, with shares trading 0.83 percent 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 percent higher at 11.62 pesos ($0.2249) on Thursday.
The home furnishing retailer, owned by the Philippines’ richest man, Manuel Villar, raised 12.937 billion pesos ($250.4 million). An option to sell 168.75 million over-allotment shares could beef up the IPO to $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 Southeast 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 $1.9 billion from January to Oct. 4, compared with five firms raising less than $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 Southeast 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 $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 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 co-ordinator, and joint bookrunner with CLSA and Credit Suisse. China Bank Capital and PNB Capital are the local underwriters.


Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

Updated 23 October 2019

Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

  • Saudi Arabia and Japan exchanged 12 MoUs in the fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia opened its doors for Japanese investment during a Saudi-Japan business forum held in Tokyo on Wednesday amid growing economic ties between the two nations.  

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) discussed tourism and entertainment investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia with Japan’s business leaders and government officials during the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

During the forum, 12 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were exchanged in fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance.

The MoUs include Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company which will aim to manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability.

Two Saudi and Japanese universities signed MoUs for academic exchange on research. While SAGIA signed MoU with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to enhance investment opportunities.

“Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners, and businesses from across our countries have a strong track record of working together,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al-Qasabi said at the Forum.

“Today’s Forum reflects the success and strength of this enduring partnership. We established the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive and facilitate continued private sector involvement by establishing joint-ventures between entities across our respective countries,” he added.

These investments come alongside a broad series of economic reforms, which are enabling rapid growth in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. This is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy as outlined in Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia has moved up three positions to the 36th place, globally, through its efforts to diversify the Kingdom’s economy, according to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum.

The total number of foreign investor licenses issued in the first half of 2019 was more than double the number issued the same period a year before.

“We believe that the future prosperity of the Kingdom depends on fostering even closer ties with our strategic partners across the globe, and we look forward to welcoming these companies as they take part in the historic transformation of our economy,” Al-Qasabi said. 

Memoranda of Understanding exchanged at the Forum include:

  • University of Tokyo and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) – the academic exchange for research in renewable energy and petrochemicals
  • Kyoto University Institute for Advance Study (KUIAS) and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST)– to promote the exchange of scientific materials, publications, and information and exchange of faculty members and researchers, students and joint research
  • University of Tokyo and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) – to collaborate on the research and the next generation of organic and soft electronics and efficient generation of hydrogen
  • Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) – to promote the exchange of data and best practices in the field of intellectual property protection including trademarks and patents
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – to enhance investment opportunities between Japan and Saudi Arabia
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – a framework for cooperation to enhance investment from Japan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company – to develop innovative membrane technologies and manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability
  • Sojitz Corporation and AIZAWA Concrete Corporation and Al Saedan for Development – to explore opportunities and utilize 3D printing technology and local materials for housing construction
  • Cyberdyne Group and Abdul Latif Jameel Investments – to collaborate and enhance Cybernic treatment and contribute to the social development of the Kingdom.
  • Saudi-Japan Vision Office Riyadh (VRO) and National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) – to expand collaboration and enable investments in the field of industry, mining, energy and logistics
  • TBM and SABIC – to build a circular economy using LIMEX
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute – to provide support and training for human capacity development for Saudi youth in the automotive sector