PropertyGuru cancels Australian IPO plan, citing 'market uncertainty'

A photo taken in 2017 showing the PropertyGuru app on a smartphone with HDB flats in the background. PHOTO: ST FILES

SINGAPORE - PropertyGuru is the latest company to back out of a planned listing in Australia as 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 on Wednesday (Oct 23) 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 that 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 Singapore-based firm might be listing in Australia to seek a higher valuation.

PropertyGuru was the second company to announce on Wednesday that it had pulled out of a planned listing down under.

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

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 the price they wanted, 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 told ST that the decision to shelve the listing would not affect the company's growth plans.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh at the National University of Singapore Business School said PropertyGuru can 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 that 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 media 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.

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