By Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte, Reporter

THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has approved the initial public offering (IPO) of residential property developer Haus Talk, Inc., the first company to list on the local bourse in 2022.

This comes as more companies are set to list on the main board of the PSE this month.

“Haus Talk is one of the companies in [the] PSE’s handholding program for potential IPO listing applicants,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramon S. Monzon said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.

“We are pleased to see that their IPO journey will soon come into fruition,” he added.

The PSE’s handholding program is an initiative to encourage and guide more companies in tapping the stock markets to raise capital.

Over 30 companies have availed of the program, the majority of which are applicants for the PSE’s small, medium, and emerging board.

“We have long wanted to grow the number of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) listed,” Mr. Monzon said. “To achieve this, we relaxed our listing rules and beefed up the support we provide to potential listing applicants.”

The offer period for Haus Talk is slated to run from Jan. 3 to 7, with a tentative listing date of Jan. 17. According to its preliminary prospectus dated Aug. 25, the company plans to list under the ticker symbol “HTI.”

“We hope that the IPO of Haus Talk will set the tone for 2022 in encouraging other SMEs to consider raising capital through the stock market,” Mr. Monzon said.

The company will be offering to the public up to 500 million primary shares for up to P1.50 apiece. It will set the final offer price on Dec. 27 after its book-building process.

“Investors may still be looking forward to the final offer price in a few weeks, to help them decide on how to go about with their subscriptions to this IPO,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren Blaine T. Pangan said in a Viber message on Friday.

Haus Talk engaged Investment & Capital Corp. of the Philippines (ICCP) as the transaction’s issue manager and underwriter.

The PSE has a couple more firms slated to list this month. Analysts said investors remain excited for IPOs and other share sales.

“There would still be some market excitement for some IPOs or share sales amid the context of improved economic recovery prospects that could help shore up valuations,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a separate Viber message on Friday.

Timson Securities’ Mr. Pangan said it would be “interesting to see how the upcoming offerings would perform” given the holiday season.

“Although the first three days of trading for the month of December has been volatile given the weak sentiment brought about by the spread of the Omicron variant across the globe, the progress made over the country’s vaccination program may help boost sentiment in the remaining trading days of the month,” Mr. Pangan said.

Last week, the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) plunged to the 6,900-level over worries on the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant.

First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Head of Research Cristina S. Ulang said the drop was a “knee-jerk reaction” and that the country’s growth momentum remained intact on the back of “adequate system liquidity and continuing business confidence.

“Earlier selldown to 6,900 was [a] knee-jerk reaction to [the] Omicron [variant], but Philippine reopening and growth momentum [are] still intact, which is reflected in market resiliency. Thematic IPOs can still fly, those in healthcare and clean energy,” Ms. Ulang said in another Viber message on Friday.

Medical equipment distributor Medilines Distributors, Inc. is scheduled to list on the main board of the PSE on Tuesday, Dec. 7. It will list under the ticker symbol “MEDIC.”

Medilines has been dubbed as the country’s “first pure-play healthcare IPO.”

Its offer saw an “overwhelming market response,” both from institutional and retail investors. The IPO demand exceeded P4.7 billion, which resulted in an oversubscription of 2.5 times the offer size of P1.9 billion.

“It was a pleasant surprise to see overwhelming interest from a diverse set of investors — spanning from high quality, long-only domestic institutional investors and thousands of Filipino retail investors from across the world,” Medilines Chairman Virgilio B. Villar said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

Medilines plans to use part of the IPO proceeds for its plans to get into the medical consumables business.

“Increased spending on medical and health-related products since the pandemic and in view of the need keep people healthy and support the healthcare system to prevent lockdowns would still benefit those related industries such as medical supplies, pharmaceutical, hygiene, and other related products,” RCBC’s Mr. Ricafort said.

Medilines tapped PNB Capital and Investment Corp. as the sole issue manager, lead underwriter, and sole bookrunner for the IPO.

On the other hand, Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corp.’s (SPNEC) offer period will run until Dec. 7. It is scheduled to list on the main board of the PSE on Dec. 17 under the ticker symbol “SPNEC.”

SPNEC is offering to the public 2.7 billion common shares priced at P1 apiece. The company plans to use its IPO proceeds to fund the first 50-megawatt-direct current (MWdc) for “Phase 1A” of its 500-MW solar project.

“Renewable energy would still be interesting for some investors as favored in view of the need to comply or adhere with ESG regulations or requirements on various investments worldwide, as encouraged and even required by regulators locally and internationally,” RCBC’s Mr. Ricafort said.

SPNEC assigned Abacus Capital and Investment Corp. as the issue manager and lead underwriter for the offer, while ICCP is a participating underwriter.