PropertyGuru scraps Aussie IPO, citing market uncertainty

A photo taken in 2017 showing the PropertyGuru app on a smartphone with HDB flats in the background. Uncertainty in the IPO market was behind the decision to withdraw the listing.
A photo taken in 2017 showing the PropertyGuru app on a smartphone with HDB flats in the background. Uncertainty in the IPO market was behind the decision to withdraw the listing.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is fourth firm to cancel listing on Australian bourse this month

PropertyGuru is the latest company to back out of a planned listing in Australia as global economic uncertainties unnerve investors.

South-east Asia's biggest property portal is the fourth company to cancel an initial public offering (IPO) on the Australian Securities Exchange so far this month.

A PropertyGuru spokesman said yesterday that uncertainty in the IPO market was behind the decision to withdraw the listing, despite it having received "strong investor support from a number of leading global and Australian investors".

"The company remains positive on its outlook for the performance of the business," the spokesman added.

He said PropertyGuru, which has some listings in Australia, does not need to raise funds for business operations and that it retains support from existing shareholders.

The Straits Times had previously reported that the firm intended to seek a listing in Australia, where it could possibly raise more capital.

PropertyGuru was the second company to announce yesterday that it had pulled out of a planned listing in Australia.

Australia-based Retail Zoo, which runs the Boost Juice drink franchise, among other brands, said it would also be shelving its listing plans, citing market volatility.

UNPREDICTABLE CLIMATE

I am of the opinion that PropertyGuru's decision to discontinue its IPO plans is due to poor market sentiments and present global uncertainties.

MR ROBSON LEE, a partner at US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Consumer lender Latitude Financial and energy company MPC Kinetic halted their plans earlier this month to list on the Australian bourse after they failed to draw sufficient investor interest for their desired prices, according to Reuters.

Reuters also reported that investor support was coming in at the lower end of the price range as PropertyGuru took orders for the offering. The deal's joint lead managers told investors that institutional demand was oversubscribed, the report added.

A PropertyGuru spokesman said the decision to shelve the listing would not affect the company's growth plans.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh of the National University of Singapore Business School said PropertyGuru could drum up more investor interest in Australia by expanding the number of property listings it has there.

Its focus is on South-east Asia, which may mean investors in Australia are not very familiar with the company, he added.

United States law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Robson Lee said PropertyGuru had stated in an earlier statement that company revenue had been growing annually over the past three years.

"I am of the opinion that PropertyGuru's decision to discontinue its IPO plans is due to poor market sentiments and present global uncertainties," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'PropertyGuru scraps Aussie IPO, citing market uncertainty'. Print Edition | Subscribe