May­bank ex­pects eq­uity deals in South­east Asia to rise this year

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Bank­ing Bhd (May­bank), South­east Asia’s top ar­ranger of eq­uity fundrais­ing deals, is an­tic­i­pat­ing trans­ac­tions in the re­gion to re­bound from a five-year low on the back of an im­proved eco­nomic out­look.

Share sales and rights of­fer­ings were likely to come from in­dus­tries in­clud­ing power, in­fra­struc­ture and con­sumer prod­ucts, said May­bank Kim Eng chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk John Chong re­cently.

Part of the ac­tiv­ity would come from com­pa­nies that had de­ferred deals last year, he said.

Eq­uity sales and rights of­fer­ings by South­east Asian com­pa­nies fell to US$29 bil­lion (RM128 bil­lion) last year, 15 per cent be­low the pre­vi­ous year and the low­est since 2011, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Bloomberg.

Deals slumped as a slow­down in China, weaker ex­ports and a col­lapse in com­mod­ity prices hurt South­east Asia’s ma­jor economies the past two years.

“We are look­ing at a much im­proved mar­ket this year,” said Chong, whose team is in­volved in three ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ings in Malaysia, Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore that are seek­ing to raise a com­bined US$1.2 bil­lion.

“The out­look is more pos­i­tive and the mo­men­tum has picked up quite a bit.”

May­bank was the top-ranked ar­ranger of South­east Asian eq­uity and eq­uity-linked of­fers last year, with US$1.1 bil­lion of deals, data com­piled by Bloomberg show.

While he was op­ti­mistic about deal flow, Chong struck two cau­tion­ary notes: geopo­lit­i­cal is­sues, es­pe­cially in Europe and the United States, and volatile com­mod­ity prices could still up­set the pos­i­tive out­look for the year.

“I won’t say I am bullish. I am say­ing the mar­ket is im­prov­ing def­i­nitely, but there are still un­cer­tain­ties.” Bloomberg

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