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Philippines’ remarkable IPOs

In the previous years, several initial public offerings (IPOs) have flourished in the local bourse. Even amid apparent volatility in the market — especially with the current pandemic impacting the economy on a large scale — there are companies that have gone public as a means of achieving their goals such as expansion, acquisitions, and innovation.

The following are some of the notable IPOs that the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has witnessed in the past five years.

Last year, four IPOs have emerged in spite of the crisis that the pandemic brought. On June 15, grocery operator MerryMart Consumer Corp. (PSE: MM), owned by Edgar “Injap” J. Sia, became the first company to go public in that challenging year.

Its P1.6-billion IPO offered 1.59 billion shares to the public at P1 each, and it closed its maiden trading session at P1.50 per share. PNB Capital and Investment Corp. (PNB Capital) served as the lead underwriter, issue manager, and bookrunner for the offering.

As BusinessWorld reported last year, the grocery operator plans to put up 1,200 branches across the country by 2030, where the first hundred branches would be open as early as the fourth quarter of 2021.

MerryMart’s IPO was followed by Altus Property Ventures, Inc. (PSE: APVI), which made its debut in the stock market on June 26 by way of introduction, which means it did not immediately offer its shares publicly.

The IPO of the real estate company that was a former unit of Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC) was initially priced at P10.10 per share. Shares went up to as high as P240 per share before closing at P18.50 apiece on its trading debut. First Metro Investment Corp. (First Metro) was tapped as the financial adviser for this offering.

Last August, Ayala Land, Inc.’s AREIT, Inc. (PSE: AREIT) launched the country’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) offering, with an amount of P12.33 billion. In spite of its tumble on its first trading day on Aug. 13, at P24.90 apiece from its offer price of P27, it saw a twice oversubscription by the time it ended the offer period on Aug. 3.

BPI Capital Corp. (BPI Capital) served as the sole global coordinator and joint bookrunner for the offering. UBS AG Singapore Branch was sole international bookrunner, while BPI Capital, PNB Capital, and SB Capital Investment Corp. served as the domestic underwriters.

AREIT, Inc., whose portfolio consists of 24-storey commercial building Solaris One, mixed-use development Ayala North Exchange, and five-storey commercial office McKinley Exchange, intends to use the proceeds from the offering to buy Teleperformance Cebu and to invest in other real estate properties in Metro Manila and key regions.

Converge ICT
Amid intensified action among telcos to meet the increasing demand for connectivity, fiber Internet provider Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. (Converge ICT) kicked off its IPO last Oct. 26. The largest offering to date, Converge ICT’s IPO amounted to P29.08 billion and offered up to 1.51 billion common shares at P16.80 each. This exceeds the P28.11 billion Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. raised in 2013.

The IPO had BPI Capital as the sole local coordinator, joint local underwriter, and joint bookrunner, while BDO Capital & Investment Corp. (BDO Capital) was tapped as the joint local underwriter and joint bookrunner. First Metro and PNB Capital are among local participating underwriters.

Converge ICT (PSE: CNVRG), owned by Pampanga-based businessman Dennis Anthony H. Uy, intends to use about 90% of the offer’s net proceeds to support capital expenditures as it expands nationwide. Its services currently cover the Luzon region, especially Metro Manila.

Year 2019 was noted for the entry of fruit and beverage kiosk operator Fruitas Holdings, Inc. (PSE: FRUIT). On its debut, Fruitas’ shares opened at P1.82 each up 8% from its IPO price of P1.68 each, and it reached as high as P2.45 before closing at P1.71 apiece. The company offered 533,660,000 primary common shares with an over-allotment option of up to 68,340,000 outstanding common shares.

BDO Capital and First Metro were tapped as joint issue managers, bookrunners, and lead underwriters for the offering.

Fruitas aims to generate P1.2 billion in the IPO, which will fund its expansion plans, acquisitions, introduction of new concepts, and debt repayment. Since the IPO kicked off, Fruitas has aimed to open 150 to 250 stores per year in the next three years.

D.M. Wenceslao & Associates, Inc. (DMWAI) was among the companies that went public in 2018 amid volatility in the market. Under its P17.89-billion IPO, DMWAI (PSE: DMW) plans to sell 679.17 million shares at P22.90 apiece, with an over-allotment option of up to 101.88 million shares.

BPI Capital and Maybank King Eng Securities Pte. Ltd. were tapped as joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the offer, with the latter also acting as international lead manager and underwriter.

Net proceeds of DMWAI’s issuance were intended to fund its projects in the 204-hectare Aseana City in Parañaque City.

Wilcon Depot
Home improvement and construction supplies retailer Wilcon Depot, Inc. (PSE: WLCON) debuted on the equities market in 2017 with a P7.92-billion IPO, comprising of almost 1.4 billion common shares priced at P5.68 apiece.

The retailer hired First Metro as issue manager and bookrunner, as well as BDO Capital as joint lead underwriter for the maiden share sale.

At the maximum price, Wilcon has expected to net P7.58 billion from the IPO. It has intended to disburse P6.11 billion for store network expansion until 2021; P972.4 million for debt repayment until 2018; and P500 million for general corporate purposes until 2018.

Cemex Holdings Philippines, Inc. (PSE: CHP), the Philippine unit of Mexican cement and construction materials company Cemex S.A.B. de C.V., was the biggest IPO in 2016, prior to Converge ICT. The IPO, which saw BDO Capital as the lead underwriter for the offering, amounted to P25.1 billion and priced at P10.75 per share.

The net proceeds from the IPO were intended to settle short-term debts, allowing the company to finance its $300-million expansion plan for its Solid Plant in Antipolo City, Rizal using internally generated funds. — Adrian Paul B. Conoza


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