Singapore hosts third SPAC listing; Novo Tellus-backed firm makes debut

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A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in the central business district in Singapore, April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

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SINGAPORE, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian industrial technology buyout fund Novo Tellus Capital Partners listed its special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in Singapore on Thursday, marking the third such IPO this month as the city-state seeks to become a hub for SPAC listings.

The trio of SPAC listings in Singapore comes almost a year after a frenzy of debuts of blank-cheque firms in the United States, which was stalled when regulatory changes and poor returns affected investor sentiment. read more

Novo Tellus Alpha Acquisition (NOVOU.SI), which raised S$150 million ($111 million), traded at S$4.96 versus its initial public offering (IPO) price of S$5 per unit. Each unit comprises one Class A share and one half of a warrant exercisable at S$5.75 per share.

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SPACs, or shell firms, raise money on stock markets to buy private companies, effectively bringing those businesses to markets in shorter time frames and often stronger valuations.

At a listing ceremony on Thursday, Novo Tellus Alpha Acquisition Chief Executive Loke Wai San said structural change in supply chain trends would benefit industrial and technology companies in the region. He also said Singapore was a key venue to list SPACs.

"We would be looking at companies in the S$500 million to S$1 billion range," Loke, also the CEO of Novo Tellus, told Reuters last week.

He said investors had "expectations of stable growth, profitability and not hyper growth and huge losses" for the SPAC's target group of industrial companies.

Earlier this month, Vertex Technology Acquisition Corp Ltd (VERTU.SI), sponsored by a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (TEM.UL), raised S$200 million in the city.

Next to list was a S$170 million SPAC backed by European asset manager Tikehau Capital (TKOO.PA) and a holding firm of LVMH (LVMH.PA) CEO Bernard Arnault. read more

Hong Kong is also allowing SPAC listings from this year but bars participation from retail investors. read more

Novo Tellus' SPAC IPO was heavily oversubscribed. Sponsored by Novo Tellus PE Fund 2, the IPO secured 13 cornerstone investors, including Malaysia's Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd and an indirect, fully owned subsidiary of Temasek.

Credit Suisse and DBS were the joint issuer managers and joint global co-ordinator of the IPO.

($1 = 1.3491 Singapore dollars)

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Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Jane Wardell and Christopher Cushing

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