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Financials

RPT-UPDATE 2-Philippine food maker Monde Nissin targets $1.3 bln IPO, country's biggest ever

(Repeats earlier story for wider readership with no change to text)

* Monde Nissin to offer up to 3.6 bln shares

* IPO set to be country’s largest ever

* Philippines companies set for large IPOs this year

MANILA, March 4 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ Monde Nissin Corp, maker of the ubiquitous Lucky Me! instant noodles, is looking to raise up to 63 billion pesos ($1.3 billion) through an initial public offering (IPO) that is set to be the country’s largest-ever listing.

The company’s filing on Thursday comes as the Philippines, a historical laggard in Southeast Asia in terms of fundraising and market activity, is shaping up to be the region’s biggest IPO market this year.

Monde Nissin is banking on growing demand for both consumer staples and higher-value products. Lucky Me! is an iconic brand in the Philippines while British meat substitute Quorn, bought in 2015 for $831 million, has given the company a foothold in the healthy food category.

The four-decade-old Monde Nissin, with net sales of $1.4 billion last year, is a Philippine market leader in instant noodles, crackers, cookies, and yogurt drinks.

It will use the funds to expand capacity at its Asia-Pacific business, which exports products to over 50 countries, and to increase capacity in its meat substitute business as demand for alternatives surges due to concerns about health and the environment.

The company is seeking regulatory approval to sell up to 3.6 billion primary shares at a maximum price of 17.50 pesos ($0.36) each, regulatory filing documents showed. It has an option to sell up to 540 million additional shares through an over-allotment.

Monde Nissin is only selling primary shares, so the money is being raised by the company. It will repay loans and also redeem convertible notes with the funds raised.

The company said the timing of the offer and the final price will depend on market conditions. In Philippine filings, IPO prices are typically set far above final selling prices.

At the filing price, the IPO would surpass the record $627 million raised in the 2013 maiden share sale of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.

Investors and bankers said consumer retailers and real estate investment trusts are lining up fundraising deals in the Philippines that could top $4 billion in 2021. That would be more than the country’s combined tally of the last seven years, based on Refinitiv data.

Only three firms debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange last year, raising a combined 44.3 billion pesos ($912 million).

The Philippines’ broader stock index is down 3.6% in 2021, making it Southeast Asia’s worst performer year-to-date amid delays in a COVID-19 vaccine rollout and strict social distancing curbs that are reducing consumer spending.

UBS Group AG is leading the deal while Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co are the joint global coordinators for the IPO. BDO Capital, BPI Capital and First Metro are the local lead underwriters. ($1 = 48.5650 Philippine pesos)

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Christian Schmollinger

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