THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) expects initial public offerings (IPOs) in the first half of 2021 to raise $2.4 billion, beating the total funds raised from listings in the previous year.

“Based on [the] actual applications we’ve received and the two IPOs we had earlier, we forecast about $2.4 billion just for the first six months. So we’re going to beat our 2020 actuals just for the first six months of the year,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon told BloombergTV on Tuesday.

Mr. Monzon said the local bourse raised $2.14 billion in IPOs for the whole of 2020.

Earlier this month, Lucky Me! instant noodles manufacturer Monde Nissin Corp. filed for an IPO to raise up to P63 billion ($1.3 billion). Monde Nissin plans to sell some 3.6 billion shares, to be priced at P17.50 at most per share. It is pegged to be the country’s biggest first-time share sale.

In addition to the upcoming IPOs, the exchange is also relaxing some rules for listing in the local market in an effort to be more inclusive to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

“We wanted to target more SMEs to list on our market,” Mr. Monzon said.

The PSE chief said the profit track record requirement for SMEs had been removed and the exchange had also introduced a sponsor requirement.

“Basically, we’re going to be allowing [listing] in our exchange, provided a sponsor has really studied the company and is prepared to sponsor them for listing,” Mr. Monzon said.

The exchange is waiting for the go-signal from regulators to allow short selling.

“Short selling has been in the pipeline for quite some time, we’re just waiting for approvals from our regulators on three issues. [These are] basically, the use of foreign collaterals for the foreign investors, the accreditation of the depository as the central security lending unit, and the use of the global master security lending agreement,” Mr. Monzon said.

“We hope to get them early this second quarter, we’ve been following this up consistently,” he said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte