MR DIY opens books for largest Malaysian IPO in three years

MR DIY plans to add 307 stores in the next two years. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 October 2020

MR DIY opens books for largest Malaysian IPO in three years

  • The trend for IPOs among Southeast Asian companies signals uptick in fundraising activity in underperforming markets

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian home improvement retailer MR DIY Group opened the books for its 1.5 billion ringgit ($361.71 million) initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday, the country’s largest listing in three years.

The company fixed the offer price at 1.60 ringgit per share, giving it an estimated market capitalization of 10 billion ringgit. The bookbuild period will last seven working days, before pricing on Oct. 14 and listing on Oct. 26.

MR DIY joins a number of other Southeast Asian companies planning IPOs this year, including Thailand’s Siam Cement Group Packaging and Philippines’ Converge ICT Solutions, a trend that signals an uptick in fundraising activity in underperforming markets.

The MR DIY listing is on track to be the largest in Malaysia since Lotte Chemical Titan raised 3.77 billion ringgit in July 2017.

Offering up to 941.5 million shares, representing around 15 percent of its enlarged issued share capital, MR DIY said it planned to use the IPO proceeds primarily to repay bank borrowings.

Its prospectus showed more than a dozen cornerstone investors including funds under BlackRock, Matthews, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Fidelity Investments as well as JPMorgan Asset Management, AIA Bhd and Affin Hwang Asset Management.

MR DIY, which has around 29 percent market share in Malaysia and 674 stores in its home market and Brunei, had planned to list in the second quarter of the year but delayed amid concerns about rising coronavirus case numbers.

Revenue grew 12 percent in May and June after a partial lockdown in Malaysia was eased, Chief Executive Officer Adrian Ong said. “Reviewing the performance of our business, the resilience of our business, the continued growth, it clearly made sense for us to come back to the market,” Ong said in a virtual press briefing.

MR DIY plans to add 307 stores in the next two years, estimating the home improvement retail sector will grow at 10.2 percent compound annual growth rate in the next four years.

The value of Southeast Asian IPOs so far this year is $4.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion a year ago, Refinitiv data shows, mainly due to $3 billion raised by Thailand’s Central Retail in February.


‘The stock market, stupid’ — Trump’s claim is looking hollow 

Updated 29 October 2020

‘The stock market, stupid’ — Trump’s claim is looking hollow 

  • The timing of the Wall Street downturn is the worst possible for the incumbent, who has declared every new peak in the S&P as a personal victory throughout his presidency
  • The likes of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook are due to declare their earnings for the third quarter, and how those numbers are received could give the indices a boost

Before the US election of 1992, candidate Bill Clinton summed up what he saw as the reason he would become president: “It’s the economy, stupid.” He was proved right as voters disowned the economic policies of President George H.W. Bush in their droves to elect Clinton. 

Until the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage the US economy in March, President Donald Trump would have been able to make the same claim. For the four years of his presidency, the US economy had continued the progress initiated by his predecessor to recover from the 2009 global financial crisis.

By most measures — growth, employment, inflation — the Trump years had been good, and those on the top of the pile had even more reason to be grateful thanks to the big tax cuts he had made a flagship policy.

The pandemic changed all that in the space of a few weeks as lockdown measures shocked the economy. Jobless claims soared to all-time records, bankruptcies and closures affected large swathes of American business, and gross domestic product collapsed. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the American economy will shrink by 4.3 percent this year.

But Trump could still claim instead that “it’s the stock market, stupid” as a reason he could be re-elected. Mainly because of the trillions of dollars injected into the economy in the form of fiscal stimulus, US share indices had swum against the economic tide.

The S&P 500 index hit an all-time high in September, allowing Trump to boast that under his administration, investors and the millions of people whose livelihoods depended on the financial industry had never had it so good.

Now, it looks as though even that final claim is looking more fragile. For the past couple of days, US and European stock markets have gone into reverse as investors took fright at the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the re-imposition of economic lockdowns in many countries.

Trump might argue, with a little justification, that Wall Street is worried about the prospect of Joe Biden being elected president by the end of next week. Certainly the contender, by definition, is something of an unknown quantity in terms of economic policy.

He is also known to favor some policies — such as tighter regulation on environmental sectors, more spending on health care, and higher taxes for federal services and projects — that have traditionally been regarded as contrary to the philosophy of “free market” America.

In particular, the energy industry is worried about possible restrictions on shale oil and gas production that Biden and his “green” team are believed to favor. However, it should be pointed out that the Democratic candidate has specifically said he will not ban shale fracking, as some environmentalists want.

In any interesting side-story, the state of Texas — one of the biggest in terms of electoral college votes — would seem to have more to lose than any other if the energy scare stories about Biden were true. Yet the contest there between Democrats and Republicans is the closest it has been for decades, according to opinion polls.

The timing of the Wall Street downturn is the worst possible for the incumbent, who has declared every new peak in the S&P as a personal victory throughout his presidency and a sign of his deal-doing prowess. If even this claim is denied to him in the final week of campaigning, it would make the uphill battle against the polls even more difficult.

There is a chance that Big Tech might offer some relief. The likes of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook are due to declare their earnings for the third quarter, and how those numbers are received could give the indices a boost, given that they were the ones largely responsible for the big market gains earlier in the year.

But for Trump, any such respite might be too little, too late. It looks as though Wall Street and Main Street are finally catching up in their gloom, and there is nothing the president can do about it.