Thailand beats Singapore for 2nd consecutive year as top IPO market in South-east Asia

Thailand raised US$3.9 billion from 23 IPOs in the first 10 and a half months of 2020. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Thailand's initial public offering market has chalked up another stellar performance, beating Singapore for the second year running as the top IPO market in South-east Asiam with the largest amount of funds raised, according to research from professional services firm Deloitte.

Singapore had eight listings that raised a total of US$852 million (S$1.14 billion) in the first 10½ months of this year.

This was dwarfed by the US$3.9 billion raised from 23 IPOs in Thailand during the same period.

Last year's competition was keener, with Thailand raising US$3 billion from 34 listings, compared with the US$2.26 billion from 11 listings in Singapore.

Thailand, South-east Asia's second-largest economy, also outdid the combined performance of the five other countries in Deloitte's research - Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - which raised a total of US$2.54 billion this year.

Ms Wilasinee Krishnamra, disruptive events advisory leader at Deloitte Thailand, said: "Largely driven by home-grown companies and fuelled by increasing investor interests in firms focused on consumer businesses, (Thailand's IPO market) continues to appeal strongly to investors and fund managers."

The country's top three IPOs, in terms of funds raised and market capitalisation, were Central Retail Corporation, which runs businesses ranging from department stores to supermarkets; Thailand's biggest packaging company SCG Packaging; and rubber glove maker Sri Trang Gloves Thailand.

Meanwhile, it is not all doom and gloom for Singapore's IPO scene despite its weaker performance this year.

Ms Tay Hwee Ling, disruptive events advisory leader at Deloitte South-east Asia and Singapore, said the Covid-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for the IPO market here, even as the economic slump induced by the crisis has weighed on listings.

Amid the economic uncertainty, quality companies with a larger customer base will think of seizing opportunities and raising additional funds through IPOs to further grow their business.

Ms Tay said a key example is Nanofilm Technologies International's listing, which was the star of Singapore's offerings this year.

The nanotechnology solutions provider raised US$345 million on the Singapore Exchange's mainboard, where real estate investment trusts (Reits) have made up most new listings in recent years.

Striking a cautiously optimistic note, Ms Tay said more companies could list in the coming weeks or early next year, including firms in sectors which have been boosted by the pandemic, such as healthcare and e-commerce.

"When they are booming, it is unavoidable that they will need to raise funds to expand their capacity," Ms Tay told a briefing on Thursday (Nov 26).

She noted that Hong Kong-based financial institution AMTD International in April became the first company to be dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and SGX.

This could bode well for other global companies which want to have a dual-listing in Singapore so they can enjoy extended trading hours and tap Singapore as a gateway into the South-east Asian market, said Ms Tay.

By listing in Singapore, they can also access different types of investors here and in the Asia-Pacific, such as high net worth investors who engage family offices in Singapore to manage their wealth.

She added that due to pandemic-induced travel restrictions, there has also been a significant increase in trading activities, which could encourage companies to list to meet the higher demand.

Two firms have expressed their interest to list this month, according to Deloitte's research. Credit Bureau Asia, a credit and risk information solutions provider, on Nov 17 lodged a preliminary prospectus for a mainboard listing on SGX.

The second is Aedge Group - which offers engineering, transport, as well as security and manpower services. It lodged a preliminary prospectus on Nov 13 on SGX's Catalist board.

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