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Converge sets IPO price at P16.80 each

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Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. on Friday priced near the bottom of an indicated range its initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to raise up to P29 billion ($600 million).

The fiber broadband provider told the stock exchange that its final offer price was set at P16.80 each, near the low end of its P16.50-P19 indicated range. This is also 30% lower than its original P24 ceiling prince.

Converge said it will offer 1.51 billion shares, composed of 480.84 million shares for the primary offer and 1.02 billion shares for the secondary offer. It has an over-allotment option of up to 225.79 million shares.

At the final IPO price, Converge may raise up to P29 billion ($600 million), which Reuters said would make it the country’s second-largest ever listing, next to Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc’s $627 million share sale in 2013.

The offering was well oversubscribed, with 80% of allocations going to investors like global emerging market funds and sovereign wealth funds, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The person declined to be identified citing lack of authorization to speak to the media.

Shares in Converge would start trading on Oct. 26, after its offer period on Oct. 12 to 16.

The firm’s ambitions to ramp up broadband internet in the country comes as business operations and movement of people in and around Manila – a coronavirus hotspot – remain restricted since President Rodrigo R. Duterte imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March.

In a separate disclosure on Friday, the company said it has set a P1 million-per-investor maximum subscription amount for local small investors participating in its IPO.

Analysts expect Converge’s IPO to attract more investors with its final offer price.

“With a discount from the ceiling, it is looking more attractive to investors. Considering that initially the upper limit was P24.00, it’s a 30% discount,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

Converge’s offering marks the PSE’s second IPO for the year as the market has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The first was grocery operator MerryMart Consumer Corp., which listed on the exchange in June.

The company intends to use the proceeds from its IPO to expand its operations to reach Visayas and Mindanao. Converge’s internet services are currently limited to Luzon island.

Converge is owned by Pampanga-based businessman Dennis Anthony H. Uy and is backed with a $225-million equity funding from US-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

In the first half of 2020, it posted a net income growth of 45% to P1.26 billion, with revenues jumping 65% to P6.49 billion due to the increased demand for internet services. — Denise A. Valdez and Reuters

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