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Singapore IPO market’s prospects brighten but no quick fix in sight By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A man in a mask walks by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), which remains open during “circuit breaker” measures to reduce coronavirus COVID-19. This was taken in Singapore’s central business district, on April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

By Anshuman Daga

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s move to launch new funds to support startups will help companies seeking IPOs, though it could take years before Singapore Exchange (OTC:) might become a centre for regional tech listings, according to market players.

Singapore is no longer one of Asia’s top finance centers. However, it has experienced a decrease in the number of listings and has failed to attract significant initial public offerings.

According to market participants, the establishment of two funds totalling S$2Billion ($1.5B) to fund firms’ late-stage fundraising or IPOs and the opening up to blank-check companies to be allowed to list within the city-state will encourage more startups to do so.

“The value proposition by the Singapore eco-system to founders and shareholders of high-growth businesses is that it will be a part of the company’s journey – before, during and after the IPO,” said Ho Cheun Hon, head of Southeast Asia equity capital markets at Credit Suisse (SIX:).

“This is something that should resonate with entrepreneurs and founders especially those unicorns considering public listing.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the city-state.

According to Refinitiv data, only three companies had listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX) this year. They raised $239 million. According to Refinitiv data, the total amount raised this year is lower than the previous period and at its lowest point in six years.

Funds raised by the Malaysian Bourse are $531 million. The Indonesian, Philippines and Thai exchanges each have attracted $2.3 Billion, respectively. While the Thai bourse is worth $3.5 billion.

After major tech companies have chosen to list elsewhere, Singapore’s tech deals are booming.

Sea, a Singapore-based gaming company and ecommerce platform listed in the United States last year. It is currently valued at $182 million. Grab, a Southeast Asian ridehailing company and delivery service, is now listed in the United States via a blank check firm. Razer, meanwhile, debuted in Hong Kong last year.

Vinnie Lauria is a founder partner of Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures and welcomes the government’s efforts to encourage startup success.

This is yet another instance of Singapore using smart government programs and capital to position itself as a hub for Southeast Asia startup success.

Robson Lee, a partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said the Singapore market has the potential to “punch above its light weight by being better organised and coordinated to attract unicorns and high technology global corporates”.

($1 = 1.3507 Singapore dollars)

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