Pawnbroker ValueMax rises 17% in Singapore trading debut

ValueMax chief executive Yeah Hiang Nam. Shares of Singapore pawnbroker ValueMax Group jumped around 17 per cent above its initial public offering price in its trading debut on Wednesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
ValueMax chief executive Yeah Hiang Nam. Shares of Singapore pawnbroker ValueMax Group jumped around 17 per cent above its initial public offering price in its trading debut on Wednesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Shares of Singapore pawnbroker ValueMax Group jumped around 17 per cent above its initial public offering price in its trading debut on Wednesday, signalling strong investor interest in alternative finance providers in the city-state.

It is the third pawnbroker to list in Singapore after Maxi-Cash Financial Services Corp and MoneyMax Financial Services.

ValueMax shares rose as high as $0.595 versus its IPO price of $0.51. Within a few minutes of trading, around 20 million shares had already been traded. The company said its offering of 138 million shares was around 6.3 times subscribed.

ValueMax said it plans to acquire businesses and set up new pawnshops and second-hand jewellery retail outlets. It also aims to distribute 50 per cent of its net profit as dividends for each of its 2013, 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.

Faced with rising living costs and unable to wait until pay day, growing numbers of Southeast Asians are putting their gold jewellery and designer watches in hock, creating a boom in pawnshops across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.