Robinsons prices near bottom, on pace for record Philippines IPO

Reuters

* IPO priced at 58 pesos/share vs range of 55-66 pesos

* Philippine companies have raised $1.35 bln from IPOs thisyear - Thomson Reuters

* Robinsons Retail deal was delayed, then cut in size asPhilippine stock market fell

By Rosemarie Francisco and Erik dela Cruz

MANILA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Robinsons Retail Holdings Incpriced its initial public offering toward the low end of itsrange, a person involved with the process said, reflecting aslide in the Philippine stock market yet keeping the deal ontrack for a record listing.

Including an over-allotment of shares, the retailer is setto raise $650 million, making it the country's largest ever IPO.

Robinsons Retail's offering is part of a slew of IPOsgenerated from Southeast Asia beginning last year when a seriesof factors combined, including a run-up in stock prices, tospark a wave of deals in a normally quiet region for capitalmarkets.

But since an emerging market selloff in May, when investorsworried about a pullback in the U.S. central bank's bond buybackprogram, several IPOs in the Philippines were cut in size,including Robinsons Retail.

The Philippines stock index has fallen 11 percent from apick in May.

Still, companies in the Philippines have raised a combined$1.35 billion from IPOs so far this year, including Robinsons,more than double last year's total and making 2013 a record yearin the country for new listings.

The IPO rush underscores the local business sector'spositive outlook for the economy despite looming headwinds fromthe recent U.S. budget standoff and uncertainties in the globaleconomic environment.

Robinsons Retail, owned by one of the Philippines' richestfamilies, the Gokongweis, set its IPO price at 58 pesos pershare, near the low end of its indicative range of 55 pesos to66 pesos, said Lauro Baja, managing director at UBS Philippines.

The department store and supermarket operator had earliercut by at least 20 percent the value of its planned listingbecause of weak market conditions. Travellers InternationalHotel Group also slashed its offer by more than half.

Weak market conditions brought on by uncertaintiessurrounding the U.S. economy originally forced Robinsons Retailto delay the sale, before lowering the price.

Travellers filed for its IPO in May, just days before thebenchmark index in the Philippines reached an all-timehigh. Robinsons Retail filed its deal in June, just asexcitement over emerging markets started to decline.

The offer attracted a total of 135 investors mostly in Asia,with the international tranche 4.5 times oversubscribed, UBS'Baja said. Robinsons Retail is selling up to 484.8 millionprimary shares, including 22.85 million over-allotment shares.

SEASIA

Despite concerns over the pace of economic growth in theregion, the deals have kept coming.

IPOs in Southeast Asia have totalled $12.8 billion so far in2013, putting the region on pace to surpass last year's total of$13.6 billion. Several deals expected in Malaysia, Thailand andother countries in the region remain in the 2013 pipeline.

For Robinsons Retail, more than half of the total 135foreign investors subscribing to the shares were from Asia,while European and U.S. investors made up 21 percent each.

Long-term investors comprised more than two-thirds of theplacements while the rest were from hedge funds and privatebanks, Baja said.

Deutsche Bank AG, J.P. Morgan, and UBS AG were hired as joint global coordinators for the IPO,with Maybank ATR Kim Eng Capital Partners Inc acting as soledomestic underwriter.

Robinsons Retail will debut on the Philippine Stock Exchangeon Nov. 11, following the Nov. 5 listing of TravellersInternational.

Including the over-allotment, the Robinsons Retail dealeclipses Cebu Air Inc's $620.8 million offering in2010, the country's biggest IPO previously.

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