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Profriends pushes back IPO timetable anew

PROFRIENDS Group, Inc. has pushed back anew its loose timetable to debut on the stock market, with the property developer now saying it will launch its initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of the year.

On the sidelines of the Asia Real Estate Summit in Makati City yesterday, Profriends Chairman and President Guillermo C. Choa told reporters the real estate company expects to proceed with the maiden share sale in the "latter part of the year," with the firm using the financial statement for its fiscal year ending June.

"We hope so but everything depends on so many things," Mr. Choa said, when asked if the company will push through with its IPO.

The timing of its share sale is hinged on securing regulatory approvals, market conditions and the availability of funding whether through debt or equity, the Profriends chief said.

"We're in a constant state of reassessment," Mr. Choa said.

Profriends was forced to redo its planned P7.7-billion IPO after delays in securing regulatory approvals rendered its financial statement stale.

First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) President Roberto Juanchito T. Dispo said in March it was targeting to go ahead with the IPO in the first half of the year. FMIC and BDO Capital and Investments Corp. were tapped as the underwriters of the IPO.

Based on its previous filing, Profriends was planning to sell 385.75 million primary common shares, representing 11% of the company's outstanding capital stock, at a maximum price of P20 apiece to finance the development of its projects and land banking initiatives.

Profriends is among several IPO hopefuls that include Gweilo Corp. (P95 million), Green Power Panay Philippines, Inc. (P290 million), and SBS Philippines Corp. (P1.16 billion). Except for Gweilo, these firms are still waiting for regulatory approvals for their maiden share offerings.

So far, only Crown Asia Chemicals Corp. has made its debut in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) through a P222.78-million IPO.

Capital raised via the stock market is expected to hit P200 billion this year with the PSE eyeing to bring 10 new names to the local bourse either through an IPO, listing by way of introduction, or backdoor listing. -- Krista Angela M. Montealegre

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