AsiaPhos soars on trading debut

MINERAL resources company AsiaPhos made a sizzling trading debut yesterday as its share price shot up by 58 per cent.

The share price of the phosphates miner, which also processes phosphate-based chemical products, closed at 39.5 cents, up from its initial public offering (IPO) price of 25 cents.

The shares opened at 42 cents. At one point, stocks of the Catalist-listed firm nearly doubled to an intra-day high of 48.5 cents.

About 181 million shares changed hands on the first day.

Well-known commodity investor Jim Rogers is among AsiaPhos' key investors. He was allotted 5 per cent of the 122 million invitation shares.

The performance of AsiaPhos, whose mines and facilities are in China's Sichuan province, compares well with other Catalist firms that have launched their IPOs this year.

Pawnbroker MoneyMax Financial Services closed at 43 cents on its first trading day, more than 40 per cent above its IPO price of 30 cents.

Oil explorer Rex International rose by more than 10 per cent above its IPO price of 50 cents to close at 56.5 cents on its trading debut.

The head of listings at the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Mr Lawrence Wong, welcomed the listing of AsiaPhos. "This adds to our growing cluster of mineral, oil and gas companies, thus widening the choice for investors in this sector," he said.

With the entry of AsiaPhos, the total number of mineral, oil and gas companies listed on SGX has risen to 18, with a combined market capitalisation of $7 billion.

To celebrate the listing, AsiaPhos chief executive officer Ong Hian Eng made a personal donation of $200,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund at a dinner last night.

Dr Ong handed the cheque to the fund's chairman, Mr Han Fook Kwang.

feimok@sph.com.sg