July 6, 2015 / 6:53 AM / 3 years ago

Manulife shelves $420 million Singapore REIT IPO as markets swoon

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) shelved its S$569 million ($420 million) IPO of a real estate investment trust in Singapore on Monday, the first major Asian offering outside China to be pulled due to deteriorating global markets.

The postponement of the IPO, which had been slated to be Singapore’s biggest in a year, came as Greeks overwhelmingly rejected conditions of a rescue package from creditors on Sunday and as China rolled out an unprecedented series of steps to prevent a full-blown stock market crash.

“In light of increased volatility in the equity capital market, the IPO of Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust has been delayed. Depending on market conditions, the IPO is expected to proceed at a later date,” Manulife said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

The books for Manulife’s REIT IPO were scheduled to close last Friday but demand did not materialize amidst the Greek crisis, Thomson Reuters IFR cited a source as saying.

Asian stocks and the euro stumbled further on Monday, and while China shares jumped on government rescue steps they recouped only some of recent steep losses.

Stock flotation plans have also been pulled or delayed in Europe. In China, authorities orchestrated a halt to new share issues, with dozens of firms scrapping their IPO plans in separate but similarly worded statements over the weekend, a tactic authorities have used before to support markets.

This year had already been a slow one for IPOs in Southeast Asia, hurt by weakness in Malaysia’s economy and currency and as Singapore has lost much of its appeal with investors favoring Hong Kong and China.

Bankers said the latest market volatility might affect issues in the pipeline. These include an IPO from Malaysian helicopter operator Weststar Aviation Services and a Singapore REIT offering from China’s Kailong, comprised of business parks in Shanghai.

Manulife had been aiming to sell 694.4 million units, including cornerstone units, at S$0.82 each. Cornerstone investors included Malaysia’s Fortress Capital Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Japan’s Nikko Asset Management Asia Ltd, and the Oman Investment Fund.

DBS was the sole financial adviser. Both DBS and JPMorgan acted as bookrunners.

Additional reporting by Denny Thomas in HONG KONG; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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