September 27, 2019 / 9:26 AM / 25 days ago

AWC raises $1.57 billion in Thailand's largest corporate listing

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The hospitality and property firm of Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakd, Asset World Corp (AWC), raised 48 billion baht ($1.57 billion) in Thailand’s biggest listing of an individual company and will invest in its hotel and retail business, a top executive said.

The company sold all 8 billion shares on offer, including an over-allotment option, at 6 baht each, in an initial public offering (IPO), Chief Executive Wallapa Traisorat told reporters on Friday.

Foreign investors took 53% of the shares and domestic investors 47%, she said.

“We will invest 25 billion baht in projects and an additional 20 billion baht for property upgrades,” Wallapa told reporters adding that developments would include mixed-used projects.

The company expects its price-to-earnings (PE) ratio will come down as AWC doubles the number of hotel rooms to 8,500 rooms and increases retail space to 415,000 square meters from 165,000 sqm over the next five years, Wallapa said.

It is not considering mergers and acquisitions, she added.

AWC booked net profits of 669 million baht in the 12 months ending in June with trailing PE of 280 times.

AWC’s competitors had an average PE ratio of 33 times.

The IPO accounts for 25% of the company’s total shares, and trading will start on Oct. 10.

“Investors are likely to respond favorably, as some of their assets like Empire Tower and Asiatique are household names even if those aren’t their core business,” said M Corp Review analyst Athaporn Arayasantiparb, referring to AWC’s office and retail brands.

AWC’s hotels business accounts for 61% of revenue, with 21.15% coming from offices and 17.8% from its retail unit.

Thirteen cornerstone investors - usually large institutional investors or well-known individuals to whom shares of an IPO are allocated — subscribed for half of AWC’s shares, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC was among foreign investors, buying $300 million worth of shares.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS are the joint international coordinators for the offering. Domestic underwriters include Kasikorn Securities, Bualuang Securities, Phatra Securities, and Siam Commercial Bank.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Orathai Sriring and Elaine Hardcastle

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