'Blockbuster' listings to lead strong IPO rebound in this major exchange

Key Points
  • "Blockbuster" listings such as NetLink Trust will help Singapore's IPO market to rebound strongly in 2017, according to a Deloitte report
  • The current pipeline brings total funds raised so far this year to 3 billion Singapore dollars ($2.2 billion), nearly doubling 2016's total amount and closing in on 2014's 3.5 billion Singapore dollars
  • Despite the optimism, Singapore is still far behind rivals Hong Kong and Australia, according to a Baker McKenzie report

The initial public offering market in Singapore was set for a "strong rebound" this year, with the current pipeline of "blockbuster" listings already pointing to the highest amount of funds raised since 2014, according to a Deloitte report.

That was despite slower activity in the first half of 2017, when the Singapore Exchange (SGX) added nine new companies which raised a total of 464 million Singapore dollars ($335.8 million) — short of the 1.6 billion Singapore dollars gathered from seven listings in the same period a year earlier, the report showed.

But upcoming listings such as Singtel's broadband unit NetLink Trust, expected to raise 2.5 billion Singapore dollars, will bring total amount this year to 3 billion Singapore dollars — nearly doubling 2016's annual amount and slightly shy of 2014's 3.5 billion Singapore dollars, it added.

An escalator past an electronic screen and ticker board at the Singapore Exchange.
Lee Yen Nee | CNBC

"We are expecting a strong pipeline of blockbuster listings in the second half of 2017 and coupled with the strong post-IPO performance of the companies listed in the first half, Singapore's IPO market is certainly buzzing with excitement," Ernest Kan, deputy managing partner (markets) at Deloitte Singapore, said in a statement accompanying the report.

The optimism was a turnaround for an exchange, which struggled with investor confidence and thin trading volume after a penny stock rout four years ago, as well as a spate of delistings and slow IPO activity.

The listing of NetLink Trust later this month — Singapore's largest IPO in more than four years —was expected to build listing momentum for the rest of the year. In addition to NetLink Trust, at least three other companies were expected to list on the SGX.

EY said in a report last week that growing investor confidence in Southeast Asian economies will help to bolster the region's IPO pipeline, and tipped Singapore to lead such activity. The consultancy added that SGX's effort to help technology companies access the capital market would drive IPO transactions in the near future.

But in the wider Asia Pacific region, Singapore still lagged behind its traditional rivals Hong Kong and Australia, according to a report by law firm Baker McKenzie.

Hong Kong raised $6.6 billion through 60 IPOs in the first half of 2017, while Australia gathered $1.6 billion from 38 new listings, the company said.