Possible 20 to 30 listings next year

PHOTO: Possible 20 to 30 listings next year
Several new share listings may come from Indonesia and China, says Dr Kan.

SINGAPORE - There could be between 20 and 30 new share listings next year, up from the 19 this year, according to professional services firm Deloitte.

The number could go even higher if real estate investment trusts (Reits) and business trusts are included, said Dr Ernest Kan, Deloitte Singapore's chief of operations for clients and markets.

"It will be growth. (But) in terms of numbers (of IPOs), given the uncertainty, it's still a challenge to get a high number in 2013 in my view," said Dr Kan.

"If you look at the last four to five years, it's not more than 30 each year."

The IPO market has slowed significantly since 2008, and even next year's expected growth will not change that trend much.

There were more than 60 in both 2005 and 2006 - excluding Reits and business trusts - and more than 50 in 2007, according to Deloitte.

But the global financial crisis hit the IPO market hard, sharply reducing the number of debutants from Singapore and overseas.

The market also started feeling the pinch when China made it harder for mainland firms to list overseas. This had an impact on the number of S-chips, or China firms, listing in Singapore. The rules were enacted in 2006 but started severely affecting the pipeline of new listings only from 2008.

There were fewer than 30 listings in 2008 and it has been that way each year since.

Several new listings next year are expected to come from Indonesia and China, a sign of their strong economies, said Dr Kan, who spoke to The Straits Times last week.

He added that the Singapore Exchange is also hopeful of listings from India and Vietnam but flagging economic growth will limit the candidates.

Some Singapore firms will also list, despite the recently decelerating economic growth, said Dr Kan, with some opting for Catalist, the secondary board.

The real estate sector is likely to see more listings, especially given Singapore's strength in business trusts and its position as Asia's largest Reit market, outside Japan. There could also be listings from the energy and resources sector and the life sciences and health-care sector, said Dr Kan.

There were 19 share listings this year, including Triyards Holdings, a unit of Ezra Holdings, which listed by introduction and did not raise money via an IPO.

Data from Bloomberg and SGX My Gateway shows that there were three Reit and business trust listings, bringing the total to 22. These 22 IPOs raised $3.56 billion in all.

While the number of IPOs was about the same as last year, the amount raised was well under the $9 billion or so raised last year. Most of that was raised by Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which raised US$5.45 billion (S$6.65 billion) last year.

The main contributor this year was IHH Healthcare's $2.49 billion offering. The hospital operator is also listed in Kuala Lumpur and is partly owned by Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

Investors also have reason to cheer this year, with 14 of the debutants gaining value from their IPO price while only seven have lost value. Triyards did not have an IPO price so no comparison could be made.

The year's top gainer has been engineering firm Civmec, which closed yesterday at $1.115, up almost 180 per cent from its IPO price of 40 cents.