Pegasus Asia, Tikehau Capital-backed SPAC, debuts in Singapore

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the Singapore Exchange (SGX) which stays open during "circuit breaker" measures to curb coronavirus COVID-19) in central business district area in Singapore, April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), backed by European asset manager Tikehau Capital and a holding firm of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, started trading in Singapore on Friday, the second SPAC to debut in the city-state.

The twin listings also mark the first major debut of such vehicles in Asia since a SPAC frenzy in the United States in early 2021 prior to regulatory change there dampening investor sentiment.

On Thursday, Vertex Technology Acquisition Corp, a SPAC backed by Vertex Holdings - in turn owned by state investor Temasek - became the first such structure to list on the local bourse.

Pegasus Asia raised S$170 million ($126 million) and plans to invest in tech-enabled sectors. It traded little changed from its offer price of S$5 per unit after the issue was heavily oversubscribed.

"We will immediately focus on seeking suitable targets for the business combination," Pegasus Asia CEO Neil Parekh said at a listing ceremony on Friday.

"The strong growth in technology-enabled sectors across the Asia Pacific region has nurtured many companies with disruptive business models in the new economy which are suitable (merger) candidates," he said.

Singapore Exchange, which allowed SPACs or shell firms to list after easing proposed rules in response to market feedback, aims to become a key venue for SPAC listings.

Pegasus Asia's sponsors also include former UniCredit boss Jean Pierre Mustier and banker Diego De Giorgi, formerly of UniCredit and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The group of sponsors also have two SPACs listed in Europe.

SPACs raise money in initial public offerings which they put it in a trust with the aim of merging with a private company, essentially taking the target public in a time frame typicallyshorter than in a traditional listing and with stronger valuations. Citigroup and UBS are joint issue managers and global coordinators on the Pegasus SPAC.($1 = 1.3468 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga)

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