Jul 112013

MANILA, Philippines – A local tugboat operator has pushed back its P539-million initial public offering (IPO), making it the third company to defer its public share sale due to unfavorable market conditions.

“In consultation with issue manager and lead underwriter Abacus Capital & Investment Corp., we request for a deferment of the company’s initial public offering to a later date,” Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. said in a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

“We believe that current market conditions are less than ideal to undertake and launch the offering,” it added.

Late last month, Harbor Star secured the PSE board’s approval to list in the local bourse.

Under the original timeline, final pricing was scheduled yesterday, followed by the start of a domestic roadshow on July 11. Offer period will start on July 22 and end on July 26 while Aug. 2 will mark the listing date.

“Tentatively, we are looking at a new offer period within September 2013,” Harbor Star said.

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Since hitting its all-time high at 7,392.20 on May 15, the benchmark PSE index has slipped to 6,308.18 as of yesterday as foreign funds exit emerging markets in hopes of higher yields in advanced economies.

Due to the market’s volatility, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. and Travellers Hotel Group Inc. deferred their P40-billion and P42-billion IPO, respectively.

Three firms have so far debuted in the local bourse this year: Philippine Business Bank, Asia United Bank and Del Monte Pacific Ltd.

Harbor Star planned to list 605.238 million common shares, of which 181.6 million shares will be sold to the public at a maximum price of P3.27 apiece.

Net proceeds could reach P540.826 million, Harbor Star said, adding that P227.41 million will be used for the “acquisition of tugboats for domestic and international expansion and refleeting.”

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