(Corrects name of Singapore Exchange in first paragraph)
* Looks to invest billions over next five years
* Building floating LNG regasification unit in Bangladesh
* Looks to expand in Asia including Sri Lanka
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Electricity producer Summit Power International plans to list on the Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) by April, what is likely the first company from Bangladesh to offer shares in the city-state, as it seeks to raise funds to invest in assets across Asia.
Bangladesh’s economic growth soared by 7.28 percent in the financial year that ended in June 2017 and its population is expected to climb to over 185 million people by 2030.
Together with Pakistan and India, the country is making South Asia a hotspot for liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand, attracting investment from gas producers and power plant builders after years of the country being considered an energy backwater.
“The stock market in Bangladesh is small and our financial demands are much larger... Singapore seems to be becoming a global financial market, so it looks like a good place to list in,” Muhammed Aziz Khan, the chairman of Summit Group, the conglomerate that owns Summit Power, told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.
SGX has granted Summit Power eligibility to list on the exchange, Khan said. SGX declined to confirm the company’s eligibility since the exchange does not typically comment on potential listings, a spokeswoman said.
Summit Power is likely to be the first Bangladeshi firm to list in Singapore; however, the SGX declined to comment.
The company has appointed Citigroup, DBS and UBS as global coordinators, Khan said.
However, Khan declined to give a value of the initial public offering (IPO), saying the information was confidential.
Summit Power has about a 13 percent share of Bangladesh’s electricity generation market, operating 15 power plants with a combined capacity of about 1,200 megawatts (MW).
Summit is also developing Bangladesh’s second floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to handle LNG imports, with the ability to regasify and add 500 million cubic feet per day (cfd) of natural gas to the national grid.
The facility will be located in the Moheshkhali region in the Bay of Bengal is expected to be ready by early next year, said Khan.
Overall, the Summit Group conglomerate had revenue last year of around $500 million from the energy unit as well as its other businesses including port services, communications, hospitality and industrial parks.
Still, the Summit Power unit plans to invest huge sums in projects over the next five years, including in LNG assets in Bangladesh as well as power projects across Asia, Khan said.
“We are looking to invest substantially in the near future and have a robust multi-billion pipeline of projects over the next five years,” he said, without saying how the projects would be funded.
Summit, along with Norway’s Hoegh LNG, is also looking to build a regasification unit in the port of Payra, about 194 km (121 miles) south of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, that could send out 1 billion cfd of gas, an industry source familiar with the matter said, declining to be named due to the confidentiality of the plans.
With up to 30 percent of the over 160 million people in Bangladesh lacking access to electricity, Summit hopes to invest in projects to meet that expected increase in demand, said Khan.
Bangladesh will require about 7 million tonnes of LNG by 2022 and similar volumes of coal by 2024, Khan said.
“These infrastructure projects are capital intensive and require a lot of money to implement them,” he said.
Summit is also looking to expand into power plant projects outside of Bangladesh. It has bid for a 330-MW plant in Sri Lanka and is studying the markets in Vietnam and Indonesia to tap potential growth, Khan said. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan Editing by Henning Gloystein and Christian Schmollinger)