Malaysia's IHH jumps 14 percent as world's No.3 IPO debuts

Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:58pm EDT
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By Yantoultra Ngui and Charmian Kok

KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asia's largest hospital operator IHH Healthcare Bhd IHHH.KL jumped as much as 14 percent in its trading debut on Wednesday, as investors eager for exposure to the region's growing healthcare sector chased the world's third largest listing this year.

IHH raised $2.1 billion in a share sale that confirmed Malaysia's status as Asia's current IPO capital following the strong debut last month of plantation giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH.KL: Quote), the world's biggest IPO of 2012 after Facebook (FB.O: Quote).

The stock opened 9.6 percent above its IPO price of 2.80 ringgit on the Malaysian stock exchange, within the expectations of analysts who had predicted a bounce despite the backdrop of tottering global equity markets and pulled listings.

Its Singapore debut (IHHH.SI: Quote) also saw a 9.6 percent jump, adding some shine to the regional bourse after India's Reliance Communications (RLCM.NS: Quote) shelved a planned $1 billion IPO by its undersea cable unit this month on jittery market conditions.

"We are quite happy with the start of our stock trading even though it is just under 10 percent premium. It shows a vote of confidence from investors towards us," IHH Managing Director Lim Cheok Peng told reporters in the Malaysian capital.

By 0332 GMT, Malaysian IHH shares had risen as much as 13.9 percent to 3.19 ringgit with the help of domestic funds, while shares in Singapore climbed 11.4 percent to S$1.24.

Malaysia, where the government has a heavy hand in the economy and the equity market is dominated by local investors and large domestic pension funds, has defied a gloomy trend that has seen several IPOs pulled due to a lack of investor interest.

And there are more IPOs in the pipeline. Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan is expected to list the local operations of pay-TV firm Astro All Asia Networks Plc in the fourth quarter in a deal that could raise as much as $1.5 billion, while the world's largest condom maker, Karex, is considering an IPO.   Continued...

The logo of IHH Healthcare Berhad (IHH) is seen at the Singapore Exchange before its listing, July 25, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong