Rate hikes cloud debut of Philippines’ first IPO this year

MANILA, March 24 (Bloomberg): Alternergy Philippine Holdings Corp had a lacklustre debut on Friday as investors shied away from the South-East Asian nation’s first listing for the year amid high interest rates.

Shares of the renewable energy holding company fell as much as 5.5% from its initial public offering price of 1.28 pesos before turning flat at midday, with nearly 110 million shares changing hands. The benchmark stock index rose 0.5%.

"Since interest rates have moved up some more, some people prefer to park their funds in short-term instruments” instead of betting on more risky assets, said Robert Ramos, head of trust and investment at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

The stock has room to rise given the increasing popularity of the alternative energy sector and the "promising business model” of the company, he added.

The debut came a day after the Philippine central bank decided to raise its key rate to the highest since 2007 and amid lingering uncertainties in the global economy and banking industry.

Alternergy offered 1.15 billion primary new common shares with an overallotment option of 115 million shares. It was initially looking to offer the shares at as much as 1.48 pesos each.

The company, co-founded by former Energy Secretary Vicente Perez, will use majority of the IPO proceeds to fund its hydro, wind and solar projects. It has potential installed capacity of up to 1,368 MW of renewable energy.

"This is an opportunity to accumulate on the stock given the prospects for the company,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc. "This is just part of the usual market sentiment,” he said. - Bloomberg

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