UPDATE 1-Maritime Capital bins $300 mln Singapore IPO plan

Thu Jul 3, 2008 2:47am BST

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SINGAPORE, July 3 (Reuters) - Maritime Capital Shipping has shelved a planned Singapore stock market listing, which bankers said was aiming to raise $300 million, reflecting investors' reluctance to put new money into dismal markets.

The Hong Kong-based firm, which ships dry bulk commodities, wanted to sell existing and new shares to raise capital to buy new ships.

UBS UBSN.VX was the lead manager for the IPO.

"Asian IPO has almost reached standstill," said Leslie Phang, the Singapore-based head of investments at the private client unit of Schroders Plc, which manages $260 billion globally.

"Issuers are unwilling to launch at lowered valuations and investors are more focused on reducing their equity positions."

In Asia-Pacific excluding Japan 32 companies have withdrawn plans to raise $18.4 billion from IPOs this year, according Thomson Reuters data.

Maritime was looking to sell its shares at an indicative price range of S$1.24 to S$1.46 a share or 7 to 7.8 times 2008 earnings, a banking source told Reuters last month.

But shipping companies are trading at a discount to the broader market because of concerns about global economic growth and slower trade.

Neptune Orient Lines (NEPS.SI) trades at almost 8 times its forecast 2008 earnings, while STX Pan Ocean STXP.SI trades at 5 times earnings, against Singapore's benchmark index .FTSTI that was trading at 14.5 times earnings, Thomson Reuters data shows.

The withdrawal is also a setback for Singapore's efforts to attract shipping and offshore oil services companies to its financial market. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Jan Dahinten)