Two homegrown firms are about to be listed in foreign stock exchanges. One of them is fintech venture iWave, Inc., a unit of Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed DFNN, Inc. engaged in systems integration, information technology, and software development.
Through a reverse takeover of China Sky Chemical Fiber Co. Ltd., iWave is undertaking a backdoor listing in the Singapore Exchange (SGX). Once the scheme is approved by state regulators, China Sky will then transfer its listed status to iWave in the form of shares in the surviving firm, which is an arrangement allowed under SGX rules.
This month, the iWave board appointed Robert Isaacson as an independent director. He is a seasoned investment consultant in North America and the Asia-Pacific region who has completed consulting assignments for leading financial institutions such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Mitsubishi Futures of Japan, and United Overseas Bank of Singapore.
In a storied career spanning 50 years in finance, Mr. Isaacson served as director and adviser of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, New York Cotton Exchange, American Futures Industry Association, Asia Pacific Managed Futures Association, and Hong Kong Global Arbitrage Conference, among others. As a highly regarded industry expert, he has testified before the US Senate and House of Representatives while as an author, his works have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Commodity Handbook, Chicago Tribune, Nikkei Financial Daily, and Barron’s, to name a few.
These twin developments augur well for iWave as it expands its footprint internationally and is poised to become one of only three Filipino companies listed in the SGX. Its listing in the city-state’s bourse would translate into better access to a wider capital base considering that Singapore is a global financial hub.
Meanwhile, another DFNN unit called Hatch Asia, Inc. (HAI) has been given the green light to list its wholly owned subsidiary, Hatch Australia Holdings Pty. Ltd., in the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). The Foreign Investment Review Board of Australia recently stated that it had no objection to HAI’s takeover bid for Silver Heritage Group Ltd., a Sydney-based gaming company listed in the ASX.
HAI is acquiring 92% of Silver Heritage’s issued capital after the latter’s existing securities are consolidated and new shares of Hatch Australia are issued. The deal will allow DFNN to fully value its early investments in HAI by tapping the Australian capital market. This merger and the ongoing acquisition process in Singapore will both create new business streams that are seen to pave the way for more Filipino companies to enter the global arena.
REENTERING THE PROPERTY MARKET
Real estate industry veteran Januario Jesus Atencio III has returned to the property business via a 13% equity investment in Ovialand, Inc. (OLI) through his private asset management company Januarius Holdings, Inc. (JHI). It may be recalled that he retired in 2017 as President and CEO of PSE-listed 8990 Holdings, Inc.
Last week, JHI unveiled its partnership with OLI, a housing developer founded by the Olivares family in 2014. OLI’s projects are concentrated in the Southern Luzon provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon. It expects to generate P4 billion in revenues over the next three years from a current land bank of 32 hectares.
OLI President Pammy Olivares-Vital said Mr. Atencio’s entry was a welcome surprise. She disclosed that it was at a housing convention when she first proposed the joint venture between JHI and OLI. After two more meetings, the agreement was sealed “and what happened next would change the course of our company forever,” she narrated during a virtual media briefing.
Officers of the two companies exchanged ideas during the first wave of the lockdowns when the entire Luzon Island was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Surprisingly, OLI was able to sell housing units even during the ECQ period and when construction was allowed to resume, Ms. Vital’s team quickly adapted to the new normal.
While many businesses took a wait-and-see stance in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, both JHI and OLI remained confident that the Philippine economy would bounce back in direct proportion to the willingness of private companies to be bold.
J. Albert Gamboa is CFO of the Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of FINEX Publications.