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Mang Inasal founder gears up to deliver another hot Philippine IPO

A Philippine tycoon whose two previous initial public offerings flew off the shelves against all odds, could deliver another winner this month, if history is any guide.

Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia’s grocer MerryMart Consumer Corp. defied a market slump when it jumped 50% in its June debut amid the global pandemic, matching the gain of his DoubleDragon Properties Corp. in 2014. His DDMP REIT Inc.’s IPO of up to 14.7 billion pesos ($303 million) will take the spotlight on March 23 when the shares become the first of 2021 to list on the nation’s bourse.

“It could fly because of its affordable price and attractive yield,” said Claire Alviar, an analyst at PhilStocks Financial Inc. “Investors also like DDMP because Sia’s previous IPOs performed well.”

DDMP’s IPO comes as the Southeast Asian economy reels from a virus-induced recession and a battered stock market under siege from a foreign investor exodus. It’s the nation’s second real estate investment trust to go public. AREIT Inc., the first, slid 7.8% on its debut in August.

For the 44-year old college dropout who built a $100 million barbecue chicken restaurant chain in just seven years, Sia’s knack of attracting investors will be tested again. MerryMart shares have surged 400% from its IPO price, while DoubleDragon has soared more than 600% since its 2014 debut.

Sia said in November that DDMP will be a “compelling REIT” and a good stock to give as “inheritance” because it owns the land where its leasing portfolio is built, which should “keep on appreciating decade after decade.”

DDMP, which owns offices carved out of DoubleDragon, was priced at the top end of its target range, indicating strong demand. Brokers like AP Securities Inc., Papa Securities Corp. and PhilStocks Financial had their allocations already fully taken up even before the sale started.

The IPO price of 2.25 peso a share offers a yield of 5.07% and 5.45% based on its 2021 and 2022 projected dividend per share, according to its prospectus. That’s a premium to the 10-year Philippine government bond’s 4%.

DDMP’s yield is comparable to AREIT and above average, but lower than the average of the top five dividend-paying stocks, said Kerwin Chan, an analyst at COL Financial Group Inc.

Shares of DoubleDragon, which will get the bulk of the IPO proceeds, rose as much as 1.4% before swinging to a 0.4% loss in Manila trading. MerryMart, a client for DoubleDragon’s warehouse and logistics venture, advanced as much as 3.7%.

While there is strong interest in DDMP, its outlook is not without risks, said Rachelle Cruz, analyst at AP Securities.

Its large exposure to offshore gaming operators and gaming-related companies makes it sensitive to any unfavorable developments to the industry, she said. Also, “investors should consider the size of the offering, this is bigger than MerryMart and DoubleDragon,” she added. – Bloomberg

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