Initial public offering (IPO) activity by Singapore issuers picked up pace in the first half of this year, although there were more cross-border listings.
The overall number of IPOs - domestic and cross-border - by Singapore issuers was up in the first six months of the year, with 12 listings raising US$459 million ($613 million) or 78 per cent more year on year, a report by Baker McKenzie said. There were four domestic IPOs and eight cross-border ones.
At 12, the number of listings in the first half-year was up from 10 in the same period a year ago, but the annual number of Singapore IPO listings has been on the decline over the last decade.
The total global IPO volume was more subdued than the corresponding six months last year, owing to political concerns and market volatility. Nonetheless, there were only 11 withdrawn IPOs, versus 23 in 2017.
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq led the pack as listing venues of choice in terms of volume and value.
Some 676 listings took place in the first half of 2018, declining by 19 per cent year on year, while the value of listings eased 15 per cent to US$90 billion. Cross-border issuers bucked the trend, raising over US$16.6 billion or 15 per cent more than the first half of 2017.
"While domestic issuers are adopting a 'wait and see' approach in the light of various political issues, fears over globalisation going backwards and economic nationalism haven't reached the cross-border market," said Baker McKenzie's global head of capital markets Koen Vanhaerents.
"To see cross-border activity going up shows a good degree of health in global equity markets, despite quieter domestic markets."
By region, the Asia-Pacific saw an overall IPO value of US$31.9 billion or 21 per cent less, as 400 deals were recorded, down 31 per cent. As for cross-border listings, there were 40 such listings which raised US$5.6 billion, representing a 12 per cent drop in capital.
For Singapore issuers, domestic capital raising rose by 64 per cent, although the total number of issuances halved.
The top domestic IPOs by Singapore-based issuers in the first half of this year are Sasseur Reit (US$300.68 million), SLB Development (US$41.82 million) and LY Corporation (US$14.93 million).
The number of cross-border listings rose by 300 per cent in volume and 166 per cent in value. Hong Kong and Australia were popular destinations for cross-border IPOs. By sector, industrial firms made up nearly 40 per cent of the cross-border IPOs by value, while real estate was second at 22 per cent.
"Singapore has been rolling out programmes to boost its competitiveness and to attract technology companies to list," the report said. These include tying up with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to encourage tech and healthcare firms to list on both exchanges. Last year, SGX also partnered the Infocomm Media Development Authority to help make the IPO launch process smoother for high-tech start-ups.