Thailand will lead the region in IPOs in 2019

Thailand’s stock market will lead Southeast Asia in initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2019 with more than $5 billion expected in new listings that should generate strong appeal for investors and help drive economic growth, bankers and analysts said last week.

“One positive in Thailand is that domestic investor liquidity is extremely healthy,” Ho Cheun Hon, Credit Suisse’s Singapore-based head of Southeast Asia equity capital markets, told Reuters news agency.

Among the major corporations that are planning to list some of their units or subsidiaries for the first time is state-run energy conglomerate PTT, the hospitality arm of TCC Group, and retail and hospitality company Central Group.

Shares for sale in these and other firms are likely to produce “the largest haul for the country in six years,” according to analysts interviewed by Reuters.

“People are waiting, and IPOs will sell,” said Narongchai Akrasanee, chairman of MFC Asset Management.

Investors are attracted to the Kingdom’s stable economic growth and do not consider the uncertain outcome of recent elections as a significant risk factor.

Viet Nam led the region in IPOs in 2018, raising $3.4 billion, while Thailand followed with $2.5 billion. Singapore’s exchange still has the largest market capitalization in Southeast Asia at over $800 billion, while Thailand is in the second position with over $550 billion.

Stock Exchange of Thailand officials have set a goal of surpassing the Singapore exchange by 2023, although they admit that will be a stiff challenge.

Officials said that to achieve the goal they will employ a range of strategies including increasing advanced analytics tools, initiating end-to-end customer solutions, partnering with fintech companies, focusing on wealth management and life-path investment, developing new products and services from customer insight through big data, strengthening risk management and developing suitable infrastructure for Thai startups and the country’s connectivity.