Asset World Corp raises US$1.57b in Thailand's largest corporate listing

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BANGKOK (Sept 27): The hospitality and property firm of Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakd, Asset World Corp (AWC), said on Friday it had raised 48 billion baht (US$1.57 billion) in Thailand's biggest listing of an individual company.

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.

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

The proceeds will be used to acquire assets, develop and renovate existing properties and repay debt, the company said.

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 US$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.

(US$1 = 30.63 baht)