March 20, 2019 / 6:09 AM / 3 months ago

After year-long drought, two big Malaysian IPOs set for second-quarter launch: sources

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s poultry producer Leong Hup International and fast food operator QSR Brands are in advanced stages of launching their initial public offerings in the second quarter, which would revive the nation’s moribund primary market, sources said.

The IPOs, which were postponed last year due to weak markets, could together raise as much as $900 million, the sources said, adding that the offerings could hit the market as early as April.

Total fundraising from Malaysian IPOs plunged to $170 million in 2018, the lowest in 20 years, and compared with $1.8 billion raised in 2017, according to Refinitiv data.

“International investors have been generally underweight on Malaysia, so there is definitely an interest to look at opportunities,” said one banker.

Malaysian stocks took a beating in May after veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad ousted the ruling coalition of more than six decades in the country’s elections, creating uncertainty over the new government’s policies. The benchmark stock index fell 6 percent last year, in line with regional markets.

In response to a Reuters query, Leong Hup said it was in the midst of obtaining necessary regulatory approvals for the IPO.

QSR did not immediately provide a response.

Leong Hup, which is majority-owned by the founding Lau family and counts PE firm Affinity Equity Partners as an investor, is in talks to finalize cornerstone investors and set an indicative price band for its IPO, bankers said.

Both local and foreign funds are expected to take stakes in Leong Hup, another banker said.

QSR, the country’s biggest fast food chain, which counts the investment arm of Johor state and PE firm CVC among its investors, is also set to start negotiations with cornerstone investors, the sources said.

Both companies, whose IPOs have been pending for more than a year, are in the process of submitting updated financial statements to the regulators, the sources added.

The size of Leong Hup’s offering could be smaller than initially planned due to choppy markets, they said.

Last year, sources had said Leong Hup was seeking a $600 million IPO, while QSR said it was looking to raise $500 million.

On Tuesday, Mahathir said Malaysia may list certain state-owned entities as it seeks to boost revenue.

Reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE and Liz Lee in KUALA LUMPUR; Editing by Shreejay Sinha

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