Wilcon prices IPO at low end of range in Philippines' first 2017 listing

MANILA (Reuters) - Wilcon Depot Inc, a Philippine construction materials retailer, is set to raise 7 billion pesos ($139.50 million) in the Southeast Asian nation’s first listing this year, pricing its shares at the low end of its guided range.

Wilcon is aiming to ride on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to raise spending on infrastructure to help lift the country’s economic growth trajectory.

It priced its IPO at 5.05 pesos per share, near the bottom end of the 5.00-5.68 pesos suggested range announced last week, to allow potential post-IPO upside, Eduardo Francisco, president of underwriter BDO Capital and Investment Corp, said in a mobile text message.

Proceeds from the sale of 1.39 billion shares would be used to nearly double the company’s network to 65 stores in the next five years from the current 37 stores that sell local and foreign brands of building and finishing materials.

Wilcon’s flotation was more than three times oversubscribed, Justino Ocampo, first vice president of another underwriter, First Metro Investment Corp, said in a mobile phone message.

The company, owned by the Belo family, will have a public float of 34 percent following the listing on Mar. 31.

Robust domestic demand and higher spending helped spur full-year 2016 growth to a three-year high of 6.8 percent, beating China’s 6.7 percent and cementing the Philippines’ position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The Philippines’ broader stock index is up 6.4 percent so far this year, making it the third best-performing bourse in Southeast Asia.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman