Billionaire Enrique Razon’s Prime Infra Defers $478 Million IPO Amid Bearish Market Conditions

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Enrique Razon speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Milken Institute Global … [+] Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on April 30, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Prime Infrastructure Capital—controlled by billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.— said Tuesday it has postponed its initial public offering until the first half of 2023 due to unfavorable market conditions.

The IPO—which is being managed by CLSA as global coordinator and bookrunner, and by BDO Capital and BPI Capital as domestic underwriters—would have been the Philippines’ largest maiden share sale this year. Prime Infra was aiming to raise as much as 28.2 billion pesos ($478 million) to bankroll investments in renewable energy and water utilities.

The decision to pull the plug on the IPO was made last week, after the company held investor roadshows in September across Asia, Europe and the U.S., according to BDO Capital president Eduardo Francisco. While investors liked the company, there were concerns about the bearish market sentiment and the peso’s depreciation, he added.

Recent domestic listings have faced economic headwinds amid mounting inflationary pressures and soaring interest rates, with meat supplier North Star Meat Merchants cancelling its IPO earlier this year due to market volatility. The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) has fallen 17% this year, the second-worst performer in Southeast Asia, while the peso has plunged about 13.6% and is trading near a record low of 59.09 pesos against the greenback.

Prime Infrastructure filed its IPO prospectus in June as the company stepped up investments in renewable energy projects including plans to build the world’s biggest solar farm in partnership with Solar Philippines—which was founded by businessman Leandro Leviste, a Forbes 30 Under 30 alumnus. The firm is also in the process of acquiring a controlling interest in the Malampaya gas project in the West Philippine Sea from Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy. The deal was approved by the Department of Energy last week.

Razon through Prime Infra has also been investing in hydropower plants and water utilities in recent years. He is also the controlling shareholder of global port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and Bloomberry Resorts, operator of the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila. Razon has a net worth of $5.3 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time data.

— With assistance by Roel Landingin.