UPDATE 3-Big investors queue up for Astro Malaysia $1.5 bln IPO-sources
* IPO set to be 3rd biggest in Malaysia this year
* US hedge funds, other investors line up as cornerstone investors
* Institutional tranche oversubscribed on the first day of order-taking
* Listing set for Oct. 19
By Yantoultra Ngui and Saeed Azhar
KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Institutional investors queued up to take shares in the $1.5 billion IPO of pay-TV firm Astro Malaysia Holdings on Thursday, oversubscribing their portion of the issue on the first day orders were taken, two sources familiar with the deal said.
The interest in Malaysia's largest pay-TV firm by market share, controlled by the country's second-richest man, Ananda Krishnan, reflects growing international interest in Malaysia and follows other strong large IPOs from there in recent months.
"Malaysia is a very different market," said Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed, who helps manage $3 billion as CEO of Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management. "Malaysia loves large IPOs so I think take-up will be strong, judging from previous issues."
Already Astro has attracted a strong cast of 16 cornerstone investors ranging from U.S. hedge funds Och-Ziff Capital Management to Standard Pacific Capital, a term sheet showed on early Thursday, in what is set to be Malaysia's third-biggest IPO this year.
So-called cornerstone investors are guaranteed large allotments in IPOs in return for holding the shares for a certain period of time, giving investors confidence in the deal.
Slightly over half of the IPO's institutional offering was allocated to local and international cornerstone investors, the term sheet showed. The portion of the IPO allocated to Malaysian indigenous investors was six times oversubscribed, it showed.
Malaysia, where the government has a heavy hand in the economy and the equity market is dominated by local investors and large domestic pension funds, has defied the gloom elsewhere that saw several IPOs pulled due to a lack of investor interest.
Equity issuance in Malaysia has hit $7.9 billion already in 2012, up from $3.9 billion in all of 2011. Shares listed in this year's Malaysian IPOs have gained 17 percent on average since the listings, according to Thomson Reuters publication IFR.
Palm oil firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings raised $3.3 billion when it listed in Kuala Lumpur in June, making it the world's third-largest IPO so far this year. The institutional tranche of that deal was oversubscribed by over 30 times, while institutional investors oversubscribed IHH Healthcare's institutional tranche in its $2.1 billion IPO in July by more than 100 times.
Astro is offering up to 1.52 billion shares in its IPO, of which 597.69 million shares will be offered to indigenous or so-called bumiputra investors, 661.75 million to institutional investors, and the balance to retail investors.
Based on an indicative price range of 2.70-3.00 ringgit per share, the total offer could be worth 4.1-4.56 billion ringgit.
Astro closes its institutional book on Oct 3, with pricing and allocation on the last day, according to the term sheet.
The initial retail offer price is 3.00 ringgit per share and the offer will open on Friday, with listing slated for Oct. 19, the term sheet showed.
Ananda, who owns telecom and energy companies, is relisting Astro after it was privatised in 2010 in a deal that valued it at around 8.5 billion ringgit ($2.78 billion).
The company will use the proceeds from the relisting to repay bank borrowings, for capital expenditure, working capital and listing expense, the term sheet showed.
Cornerstone investors in the IPO included Antelle Holding, Areca Capital, hedge fund Azentus Global, Corston-Smith, Gordel Capital, Kencana Capital, ECM Libra, Myriad, Malaysian tycoon Chua Ma Yu, TPG-Axon, pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme, Nomura Asset Management, Great Eastern Life Assurance and Malaysian state-owned fund management firm Permodalan Nasional Bhd, the term sheet showed.
The IPO is being handled by CIMB Group Holdings Bhd , Malayan Banking Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd . Several foreign banks are also advisers, including UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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