Malaysia's UMW plans $668 million public listing

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's UMW Oil and Gas Corp. said Thursday it hopes to raise 1.71 billion ringgit (US$535 million or S$668 million) in a stock market listing next month, as the firm looks to capitalise a bumper IPO season in the country.

The initial public offering (IPO) by the offshore and drilling services firm is expected to be the biggest in Malaysia this year.

Kicking off the listing, UMW said it was looking at offering 611.8 million new shares to the public at an indicative retail price of 2.80 ringgit each, which would raise 1.71 billion ringgit. The listing is slated for November 1.

The firm said a major portion of the cash raised would be used for the acquisition, upgrading and maintenance of drilling rigs and other machinery.

Malaysia saw a number of big IPOs last year led by palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures, which raised $3.25 billion -- the country's largest IPO -- while port operator Westports Holdings raised $624 million.

UMW president Rohaizad Darus said the firm would look for sustainable long-term growth with its listing on Bursa Malaysia, adding that it was expanding in the region following the award of three new contracts in Vietnam in the past six months and another in Thailand.

Yeah Kim Leng, chief economist at RAM Ratings, told AFP the listing would attract investors despite the US budget crisis fuelling uncertainty in global markets.

"The prospects for oil and gas companies is positive. There is strong appetite for oil and gas company shares as it promises healthy growth potential," he said.

Yeah said Malaysia remained one of the emerging markets favoured by international investors due to its stable economic growth.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that there was more than $1 billion worth of deals in the pipeline to be listed in Kuala Lumpur this year, including one for up to $250 million by grocery store chain operator Seven Convenience Bhd.

Sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development is expected to announce a listing to raise at least $3 billion in 2014.