Haus Talk, Inc. listed its initial public offering shares at Philippine Stock Exchange’s Small, Medium and Emerging Board on Jan. 17. COMPANY HANDOUT

HAUS TALK, Inc. became the first company to debut at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) this year, with its shares rising 6.67% on Monday as investors bet on the Pampanga-based housing developer’s long-term prospects.

The company, which listed at the small, medium, and emerging (SME) board, had raised P750 million from its initial public offering (IPO).

“We want to grow further and by doing this IPO and going public, we can grow exponentially,” said Haus Talk President Maria Rachel D. Madlambayan at a press conference.

Shares in Haus Talk opened at P1.49 each from its offer price of P1.50 during Monday’s session. It closed 6.67% higher at P1.60, after hitting an intraday high of P1.73.

“This may reflect investor optimism over the company and the niche market segment that they cater to. Moving forward, participants may be excited to observe how the firm’s growth will unfold in the coming months,” stock analyst and Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan said in a Viber message.

Haus Talk shares were snapped up by mostly local small investors, but some were from overseas, Investment and Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP) Managing Director Manny P. Ocampo said. ICCP was the underwriter for the IPO.

“There were small investors, but not only in the Philippines. There was wide participation among trading participants, like in overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) residing in the Middle East and Southeast Asia who purchased shares,” Mr. Ocampo said during the press conference. “The foreign houses were maybe below their radar, being an SME. Foreign houses would look at IPOs with bigger camps.”

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expressed hope the Haus Talk IPO would inspire more micro, small and medium enterprises to scale up their operations.

“We enjoin you (Haus Talk) to do your own ‘Build, Build, Build’ expansion plans as these economic activities not only contribute to increasing access to housing, but these construction activities will surely generate a multiplier effect in terms of job generation,” Mr. Lopez said during the listing ceremony.

Despite the Omicron-driven surge in coronavirus cases, Haus Talk pushed through with its IPO, betting on the continued demand for middle-income and low-income housing.

“It’s not an easy feat to go public after almost three decades and during a pandemic at that. But we’ve always seen challenges as an opportunity to show strength. We may change our strategy, but our vision remains the same,” Ms. Madlambayan said during the press conference.

“There is also still a housing backlog of 6.7 million, which only demonstrates the need for more affordable housing solutions such as HTI’s,” she added.

Haus Talk Chair and Vice-President of Business Development Terence D. Madlambayan said in a statement that the company has seen an “ever-growing clamor for quality yet affordable housing options in preferred locations among Filipinos, who are budget-conscious, even during a pandemic.”

Established in the 1980s by the Madlambayan family from Pampanga, Haus Talk currently has existing properties in Antipolo, Laguna, Marikina, and Metro Manila.

“[HausTalk] doesn’t go for the big developments, they will look at five-to-10-hectare projects, bite-size,” said ICCP’s Mr. Ocampo. “They’re very easy to manage as a project. They are able to execute the lots easier and faster.”

HausTalk said it will be allocating P25.1 million for capital expenditures and P10 million for the acquisition of new technologies.

“That will include the acquisition of a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. We are also investing into construction equipment to make our production more efficient,” the company said via e-mail.

Haus Talk was one of the companies in PSE’s handholding program for potential IPO listing applicants, which aimed to encourage more firms to go public. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson