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.


NMC Health’s new executive chair vows to recover misused funds

Updated 05 April 2020

NMC Health’s new executive chair vows to recover misused funds

  • London-listed NMC recently revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, much higher than earlier estimated
  • NMC’s stock has more than halved in value since December and trading in its shares was suspended in February

DUBAI: The new executive chairman of hospital operator NMC Health vowed on Saturday to work with authorities in Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to recover misused funds and called on the company’s creditors for a debt standstill.
Faisal Belhoul said in a statement that keeping NMC Health operating was a “national priority,” particularly as the country and the world battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Belhoul said putting the hospital operator into administration would “cause instability to the operating businesses of the NMC Group, creating additional pressure on the group’s liquidity and reducing value for all creditors.”
A temporary debt standstill, by contrast, would allow the firm to prepare and activate a recovery plan.
London-listed NMC recently revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, much higher than earlier estimated.
NMC’s stock has more than halved in value since December and trading in its shares was suspended in February. The decline was triggered by a report by short seller Muddy Waters that questioned the company’s financial statement.
Belhoul’s appointment was made after the company’s non-executive directors uncovered alleged theft and excess undisclosed borrowings by former directors of the company, the statement said.
Belhoul is a founder and chairman of Ithmar Capital Partners, which owns a 9% stake in NMC.
“We are working in full cooperation and in close dialogue with authorities in the UAE and UK, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will vigorously chase down the perpetrators for return of these funds,” he said.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, one of more than 80 local, regional and international creditors, said last week it had over $981 million exposure to NMC Health.
NMC Health claims to be the largest private health care company in the UAE, operating more than 200 facilities, which includes hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
“The NMC Group is currently treating hundreds of people suspected of having COVID-19 and in the UAE has screened more than 10,000 workers for the virus in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization,” the statement said.