Southeast Asia’s (SEA) robust economic growth and stable interest rates have positioned it as a prominent initial public offering (IPO) hub. The SEA market achieved a record high first quarter (Q1), marked by a 75 per cent surge in the number of IPO deals, totalling 51 deals and generating $1.4 billion in proceeds. Prior to this, in the corresponding period of 2022, the region saw 29 IPOs raising $1 billion. The SEA’s total contribution is almost 7 per cent of the total funds raised via IPOs globally in Q1 2023.
In 2022, the SEA IPO market was packed with smaller-sized listings. This was a result of smaller companies proceeding with their IPOs despite the current economic uncertainty, with larger companies with greater leverage delaying their listing in anticipation of improved market conditions. During the year, Thailand and Indonesia raised over $2 billion each, collectively accounting for 78 per cent of the total funds raised in the region. The trend has continued in Q1 2023, with Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia spearheading IPO activity.
Indonesia is proving to be the epicentre for IPOs amidst a protracted global lull. It showed the highest level of activity in Q1 2023, having successfully raised a total of $828 million via 30 IPOs. As of March 2023, the Indonesia Stock Exchange had 44 issuers in its IPO pipeline, which encompassed various sectors such as primary consumer goods, real estate, transportation and logistics, financial, manufacturing, energy and infrastructure. The Indonesian IPO market is expected to remain active and robust throughout 2023, with a diverse range of companies expected to go public. The planned IPO of $1.4 billion by Pertamina Hulu Energi and the anticipated float of $1 billion by Amman Mineral International are among the prominent transactions in the pipeline. Additionally, these deals could make Jakarta one of the world’s prominent exchanges in 2023.
The electric vehicle (EV) battery space has attracted significant investor interest. Indonesia possesses substantial reserves of nickel, a crucial constituent in the production of batteries for EVs. The recent IPOs of Harita Nickel (NCKL.JK) and Merdeka Battery (MBMA.JK), have resulted in robust market performance, making Indonesia one of the most sought after IPO markets globally.
The Malaysian IPO market has remained vibrant with 35 new listings, which raised a total of $801 million in 2022, an increase of 21 per cent (in terms of volume) and 138 per cent (in terms of value) from 2021. This surge has been driven by investors’ demand for companies with robust fundamentals. Additionally, the number of listings on Malaysian Exchange of Securities Dealing and Automated Quotation, now known as the ACE market, increased from 11 in 2021 to 26 in 2022, which is noteworthy given the current economic climate. With a strong start to the year, Malaysia raised $238 million via 10 IPOs in Q1 2023.
In the coming months, short-term market volatility is expected to persist. Positive and domestic catalysts could bolster market sentiment in the medium term, providing additional support to the domestic market.
Thailand raised a total of $3.6 billion via 42 IPOs in 2022. Of the total amount raised, around 88 per cent ($3.2 billion) was raised in the second half of 2022 as Covid-19 restrictions were eased. Indicative of a return to pre-pandemic standards, the funds raised in 2022 compares favourably with the funds raised in 2017- 2019 (around $3 billion each year). In Q1 2023, Thailand raised $322 million via 10 IPOs. A stable economy, low interest rates and high domestic liquidity have contributed to Thailand’s strong performance in attracting investment through IPOs.
In 2022, 11 IPOs in Singapore raised $428 million. The IPO activity included three special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) listings that raised $389 million and eight other IPOs on the Singapore Exchange that raised $39 million. Moreover, the increased SPAC listings marked a promising beginning for the SPAC framework that was introduced in September 2021. ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, a digital infrastructure provider, will come up with an IPO soon, before which the company is considering raising almost $1 billion in a funding round.
In 2022, the Philippines bourse saw a total of eight listings, which raised a sum of $352 million. Prior to this, it raised approximately $1.8 billion from seven IPOs in 2021, which is more than it had raised in the previous four years. Citicore Energy REIT Corp (CREIT), the country’s first energy real estate investment trust, was the largest listing of 2022, raising $124 million. CREIT, which is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, is likely to accelerate Philippines’ renewable energy goals in the near term. Citicore Renewable Energy Corp, one of the country’s largest solar power producers, plans to go public in 2023 to fund a proposed $4 billion investment in new solar projects over the next five years.
The Vietnam Stock Exchange (VNX) recorded eight listings in 2022, with $71 million in IPO funds raised. Of these, six were listed in the first half of 2022. IPO activity saw the momentum waning in the second half of 2022 owing to global inflationary uncertainties and the rising likelihood of a recession. As of Q1 2023, the VNX has not seen any new IPOs.
The global IPO market has exhibited sluggish growth in Q1 2023. With a total of 299 IPOs raising $21.5 billion, a year-over-year (Y-o-Y) decrease of 8 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively, the quarter has been subdued amid interest rate hikes, a lacklustre stock market, persistent inflation, and unexpected global banking industry turmoil. In Q1 2023, in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, there were about 223 IPO deals (including SPACs) worth a total of $17.6 billion, a y-o-y decline of 5 and 50 per cent in volume and value respectively. Prior to this, in 2022, approximately 1,034 transactions (including SPACs) took place, a y-o-y decline of 42 per cent, in terms of volume.
Despite constant declines, the values have remained well above pre-pandemic levels, substantially outperforming regions like North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Due to this, while the IPO market in the APAC region is not as robust as in SEA, it has demonstrated significant resilience. Additionally, in Q1 2023, the APAC region accounted for almost 60 per cent of global IPO deals.
In sum The SEA capital market has enjoyed a successful year in 2022. Furthermore, it has exhibited a strong start in 2023. The pandemic prompted an influx of new retail investors interested in the region’s IPO market. The scarcity of infrastructure IPOs even with a vibrant IPO market remains the one weak spot in stock market performance. Given the increasing interest in the region from sovereign wealth funds in Asia and the significant potential to attract funds from Asian economies like Japan, China and South Korea, SEA countries could potentially attract considerable funding for infrastructure projects, particularly if infrastructure companies get themselves listed on the stock markets.