Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Retail Corp, priced its IPO (Initial Public Offering) at THB 42 (USD 1.36) per share, raising THB 78.1 billion (USD 2.5 billion), making it the country’s largest IPO ever. The company would have a market valuation of THB 260 billion (USD 8.4 billion), making Central Retail the 15th largest company on the Thai Stock Exchange. The shares were listed on 20 February.
Central Retail has revealed that Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and funds advised by US investor Capital Research Management Company are among international cornerstone investors backing its IPO. The international cornerstone investors are buying shares for a total of USD 532 million, while domestic cornerstone investors such as Kasikorn Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Asset Management are buying shares worth a total of USD 265 million. The issue is being managed internationally by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and UBS, while Bualuang Securities, Phatra Securities and Kasikorn Securities are the domestic underwriters for the issue.
The company controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family is the leading multi-format, multi-category retailing platform in Thailand. As of September 30, 2019, it operated 1,922 stores across 51 provinces in Thailand, 133 stores across 40 provinces in Vietnam and 9 department stores in 8 cities in Italy. The strengths of the company’s asset base are expected to offset the short-term negative market sentiment for retail in the region due to the impact of the COVID-19. Thailand receives around 11 million Chinese travelers annually. The number could drop to 9 million this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, even if the outbreak is brought under control by March.
(Sources: Deal Street Asia; Nasdaq)