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Robinsons prices near bottom, on pace for record Philippines IPO

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

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

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

By Rosemarie Francisco and Erik dela Cruz

MANILA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc priced its initial public offering toward the low end of its range, a person involved with the process said, reflecting a slide in the Philippine stock market yet keeping the deal on track for a record listing.

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

Robinsons Retail's offering is part of a slew of IPOs generated from Southeast Asia beginning last year when a series of factors combined, including a run-up in stock prices, to spark a wave of deals in a normally quiet region for capital markets.

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

The Philippines stock index has fallen 11 percent from a pick 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 year in the country for new listings.

The IPO rush underscores the local business sector's positive outlook for the economy despite looming headwinds from the recent U.S. budget standoff and uncertainties in the global economic environment.

Robinsons Retail, owned by one of the Philippines' richest families, the Gokongweis, set its IPO price at 58 pesos per share, near the low end of its indicative range of 55 pesos to 66 pesos, said Lauro Baja, managing director at UBS Philippines.

The department store and supermarket operator had earlier cut by at least 20 percent the value of its planned listing because of weak market conditions. Travellers International Hotel Group also slashed its offer by more than half.

Weak market conditions brought on by uncertainties surrounding the U.S. economy originally forced Robinsons Retail to delay the sale, before lowering the price.

Travellers filed for its IPO in May, just days before the benchmark index in the Philippines reached an all-time high. Robinsons Retail filed its deal in June, just as excitement 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 million primary shares, including 22.85 million over-allotment shares.


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

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

For Robinsons Retail, more than half of the total 135 foreign 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 the placements while the rest were from hedge funds and private banks, 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 sole domestic underwriter.

Robinsons Retail will debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange on Nov. 11, following the Nov. 5 listing of Travellers International.

Including the over-allotment, the Robinsons Retail deal eclipses Cebu Air Inc's $620.8 million offering in 2010, the country's biggest IPO previously.