Singapore chilli crab king Jumbo Group's IPO surges in trading debut

Jumbo Seafood restaurant at East Coast Seafood Centre.
Jumbo Seafood restaurant at East Coast Seafood Centre. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Shares of Jumbo Group, the Singapore-based operator of chili-crab restaurants, surged in its trading debut on Monday (Nov 9) after selling shares in the country's biggest initial public offering this year to investors including a Temasek Holdings unit and Osim International chairman Ron Sim.

The shares rose as much as 58 per cent to an intraday high of 39.5 Singapore cents before trading at 36.5 Singapore cents as of 11:26 am.

Jumbo sold shares at 25 Singapore cents each in its IPO, which raised S$40 million from investors including Temasek's Heliconia Capital Management Pte.

"It's a company with great potential," Mr Sim said in an interview on Monday at Jumbo's listing ceremony at the headquarters of Singapore Exchange. Mr Sim said he's a long-term shareholder with no plans to immediately cash out on his S$8 million investment.

"Their dishes - chili crabs, pepper crabs and butter crabs - can be world dishes," he said.

Jumbo Group, which also operates restaurants offering pork rib soup, or bak kut teh, and ramen noodles, serves more than 6,000 customers daily, according to its website. The restaurant operator will open at least four more outlets in China and Singapore within the next two years, according to its filing.

"In the next five years, it will be an interesting journey," Mr Sim said. "We hope to be able to help them to be a little more strategic with the countries to expand."

Jumbo's IPO brings the number of companies listed on SGX's second board Catalist to 169, with a total value of S$9 billion. Eleven companies have raised S$194 million in initial share sales in Singapore this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, with Jumbo as the biggest offering. That compares with S$2.6 billion raised in the same period last year.

"Jumbo has a good recipe for investment," Derek Lau, chief executive officer of Heliconia, said in an interview. "It's got good brands which are well-recognized - chili crabs and bak kut teh. You can proudly say these are Singapore products and are scalable."

Jumbo CEO Ang Kiam Meng said he will leverage on Heliconia's and Mr Sim's expertise, network and experience.

"It's their decision but we'll work hard to convince them to increase their stakes in us," Mr Ang said in an interview. "Yes, of course we would like that."