SGX Catalist board welcomes 100th listing since launch

This month's activity follows a dearth of new listings at SGX, which had seen only nine IPOs this year before Jumbo Group's listing.
This month's activity follows a dearth of new listings at SGX, which had seen only nine IPOs this year before Jumbo Group's listing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Trendlines' entry is one of four this month, with more new arrivals expected next year

The Singapore Exchange (SGX)'s Catalist board is about to welcome its 100th listing since 2008 - and could see a flurry of five or six more new arrivals early next year if market conditions are favourable.

After a mostly sluggish 2015 for SGX, Catalist - designed to foster smaller firms looking for growth capital - has, in recent weeks, seen a spate of initial public offerings.

The Straits Times understands from industry sources the next potential batch of debuts are waiting for uncertainties - notably jitters over the United States rate hike - to settle down early next year before entering the market.

Before that, Catalist will welcome Trendlines Group as its 100th new listing tomorrow.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday ahead of Trendlines' listing, SGX head of small and medium-sized enterprises development and listings, Mr Mohamed Nasser Ismail, agreed SGX is attracting a consistent level of interest to list here.

AN EASY SELL

The timing to come in is a matter of market conditions, but the level of interest in SGX listing is as strong as before. Our proposition sells itself - an SGX listing gives ready access to Singapore's capital market, which offers a stable environment with an international pool of investors and strong connection to the rest of Asia.

MR MOHAMED NASSER ISMAIL, SGX head of SME development and listings, on the appeal of being listed in Singapore

"The timing to come in is a matter of market conditions, but the level of interest in SGX listing is as strong as before. Our proposition sells itself - an SGX listing gives ready access to Singapore's capital market, which offers a stable environment with an international pool of investors and strong connection to the rest of Asia," he said.

The bourse is particularly encouraged that the Catalist board is getting recognised as an attractive platform for growth companies to tap the capital market, Mr Nasser said.

"The Catalist universe is expanding. We see more companies from different jurisdictions with different business models; the sizes of the companies are also getting bigger, with more institutional investors coming in,'' he said.

One was Orchard 1 Investments, controlled by Temasek Holdings' Heliconia Capital. It was one of Jumbo Group's two cornerstone investors when the restaurant firm made its debut on Catalist this month.

Including Jumbo Group, there will be a total of four new entrants into the Catalist board this month.

Malaysian property developer Astaka Holdings was listed on Monday, with a placement to raise $58 million, followed by Trendlines, after an initial public offering (IPO) to raise $25 million, while Axcelasia will start trading on Friday on the back of an IPO to raise $12 million.

Trendlines is an Israeli incubator of life sciences start-ups. Axcelasia is a Malaysian tax advisory firm.

With these new additions, the Catalist board will have 171 companies with a combined market value of around $10 billion, up from $6.5 billion in 2010. The figure of 171 companies includes those that moved to Catalist from predecessor Sesdaq.

Liquidity is also healthy, with SGX data showing a year-to-date turnover velocity - a ratio between shares' turnover and market value - of 90 per cent, comparable with other growth platforms globally such as London's AIM market.

The activity this month follows a dearth of new listings at SGX, which had seen only nine IPOs this year before Jumbo. Still, with just one month left, the total number of listings this year will likely be a sizeable decline from last year's count of 30.

Meanwhile, SGX is targeting several key sectors to ramp up new listings. "Our new chief executive, Mr Loh Boon Chye, has said there is now a focus in building sectors that SGX is particularly strong at - healthcare, digital and consumer. This applies to both the Catalist and the mainboard," Mr Nasser said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'SGX Catalist board welcomes 100th listing since launch'. Print Edition | Subscribe