Thailand on track for record year for IPOs

Thailand is on track to set a record this year for initial public offerings (IPOs), leading the rest of Southeast Asia, which is still a hot market for new listings, according to London-based financial services platform Dealogic.

“Thailand is doing really well. It continues the good trend from last year,” said Ken Fong, Head of Equity Capital Market Research for Asia-Pacific at Dealogic.

Fong said the pandemic had not appeared to be affecting the IPO situation in Southeast Asia, and so he expected the trend to continue and for Thailand to set a record for new offerings in 2021. The Philippines has also been performing well in IPOs, while Malaysia and Singapore have been relatively quiet.

Fong cited two companies in Thailand that launched IPOs this year as evidence that the time was right to debut on the market. PTT Oil and Retail Business went public in February and its shares soared 62 percent on the first day of trading. Thai insurance broker Ngern Tid Lor also enjoyed an increase in price of about 25 percent on its first day of trading.

Both were valued at over $1 billion and Fong said their strong showing convinced other companies that it was a good time to list.

Some analysts had expected a fall off in IPOs since the advent of the pandemic. A number of health measures imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus have weakened the global economy. Capital markets, however, tend to be forward looking, and the willingness to list now reflects confidence that the economy will bounce back and desire to catch the upswing.