Electricity producer Summit Power International plans to list on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) by April, in what is likely to be the first company from Bangladesh to offer shares in Singapore, as it seeks to raise funds to invest in assets across Asia.
Bangladesh's economic growth soared by 7.28 per cent in the financial year ended June 2017 and its population is expected to climb to over 185 million by 2030.
Together with Pakistan and India, the country is making South Asia a hot spot for liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand, attracting investment from gas producers and power plant builders after years of the country being considered an energy backwater.
"The stock market in Bangladesh is small and our financial demands are much larger... Singapore seems to be becoming a global financial market, so it looks like a good place to list in," Mr Muhammed Aziz Khan, chairman of Summit Group, the conglomerate that owns Summit Power, told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.
The SGX has granted Summit Power eligibility to list on the exchange, he added.
An SGX spokesman declined to confirm the company's eligibility, saying the exchange does not typically comment on potential listings.
If the initial public offering (IPO) materialises, Summit Power is likely to be the first Bangladeshi firm to list in Singapore.
The company has appointed Citigroup, DBS and UBS as global coordinators, Mr Khan said.
However, he declined to give a value of the IPO, saying the information was confidential.
Summit Power has about a 13 per cent share of Bangladesh's electricity generation market, operating 15 power plants with a combined capacity of about 1,200MW.
It is also developing Bangladesh's second floating storage and regasification unit to handle LNG imports, with the ability to regasify and add 14 million cubic m per day of natural gas to the national grid.
The facility will be located in the Moheshkhali region in the Bay of Bengal and is expected to be ready by early next year, said Mr Khan.
Overall, the Summit Group conglomerate had revenue last year of around US$500 million (S$658 million) from the energy unit, as well as its other businesses including port services, communications, hospitality and industrial parks.
Still, Summit Power plans to invest huge sums in projects over the next five years, including in LNG assets in Bangladesh as well as power projects across Asia, Mr Khan said.
"We are looking to invest substantially in the near future and have a robust multi-billion pipeline of projects over the next five years," he added, without saying how the projects would be funded.
Summit, along with Norway's Hoegh LNG, is also looking to build a regasification unit in the port of Payra, about 195km south of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, that could send out 28 million cubic m of gas per day, an industry source familiar with the matter said, declining to be named due to the confidentiality of the plans.
With up to 30 per cent of the over 160 million people in Bangladesh lacking access to electricity, Summit hopes to invest in projects to meet that expected increase in demand, said Mr Khan.
Bangladesh will require about 7 million tonnes of LNG by 2022 and similar volumes of coal by 2024, he added. "These infrastructure projects are capital intensive and require a lot of money to implement them."
Summit is also looking to expand into power plant projects outside of Bangladesh. It has bid for a 330MW plant in Sri Lanka and is studying the markets in Vietnam and Indonesia to tap potential growth, Mr Khan said.