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DDMP REIT makes Philippine market debut amid tepid trading

Listing during pandemic 'no walk in the park,' says chairman Edgar Sia

DDMP REIT, which listed on the Philippine Exchange on March 24, has six tower offices in its portfolio. (Photo by Jun Endo)

MANILA -- The Philippines' first IPO of 2021 got off to a subdued start on Wednesday, with shares in DDMP REIT closing flat while the broader market edged slightly higher.

Shares in DDMP opened 0.44% higher than their offering price and rose nearly 7% at one point before falling back by the end of trading. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index closed 0.8% higher.

The company, led by local billionaire Edgar "Injap" Sia, is only the second REIT to be listed on the PSE. It raised 14.7 billion pesos ($302 million) in a public offering that garnered intense interest from the growing number of retail investors in the country.

More than 50,000 investors subscribed to the initial public offering priced at 2.25 pesos ($0.05) per share, forcing DDMP to push back the listing by a day from Tuesday due to delays in the lodgement of stocks.

"Listing during a pandemic is definitely not a walk in the park, but we believe this is our share of also promoting a more inclusive economy," Sia, who serves as DDMP chairman, said during the listing ceremony.

The DDMP listing was highly anticipated given the huge success of Sia's two previous IPOs. Real estate developer Double Dragon Properties, listed in 2014, and grocer Merry Market Consumer, which listed last year, both jumped by 50% on their first trading day to hit the stock exchange's ceiling.

DDMP has six office towers in its portfolio, but its exposure in online gaming companies, which have been targets of Chinese and Philippine authorities' crackdown, has been highlighted as a cause for concern by some analysts.

The listing comes as the bellwether PSE index is down nearly 10% this year amid worries over accelerating inflation and amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases. The number of new daily cases hit a record high of over 8,000 on Monday.

Nevertheless, DDMP is one of the companies that the stock exchange hopes will help turn 2021 into a banner year. The PSE -- historically an underperformer among major Southeast Asian exchanges -- expects to more than double the number of IPOs to seven this year from three in 2020.

Three other companies have already disclosed plans to list this year, including food manufacturer Monde Nissin's share sale of up to 72.45 billion pesos, including overallotment options, which could be the largest IPO in the Philippines.

Sugar producer Central Azucarera de San Antonio and Cyberzone Properties REIT also plan to go public to raise up to 560 million pesos and 14.9 billion pesos, respectively.

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