Thursday, 18 October 2012

Westports looking to raise US$500m from IPO

KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd, operator of the country's busiest port, is looking to raise as much as US$500 million (RM1.5 billion) in an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter of 2013, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan said.

The funds raised from the IPO will help Westports expand Port Klang, which has reported double-digit growth in container handling over the last five years.

Westports, which counts Hutchison Port Holdings and Khazanah Nasional Bhd as shareholders, is launching an IPO at a time when privatisation schemes and economic growth have cemented the country's position as Asia's top destination for initial share sales.

"Although the roles of bankers are not confirmed yet, Malayan Banking Bhd will likely lead the deal," said one of the sources yesterday, declining to be identified as the matter was still private.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc will also help arrange the sale, said the second source.

Westports officials were not immediately available to comment.

The IPO would follow the planned US$1 billion (RM3.03 billion) offering for independent power producer Malakoff Corp Bhd, 51 per cent-owned by MMC Corp Bhd, in the first quarter of next year.

The founders of Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, are also set to kick off an IPO spree in 2013 with three listings worth more than US$500 million (RM1.5 billion).

Malaysia accounted for US$7.9 billion (RM24 billion) of the US$30.03 billion (RM91 billion) worth of new listings in the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

By comparison, IPOs in Hong Kong have raised US$1.81 billion (RM5.5 billion) and those in Singapore US$3.44 billion (RM10.4 billion).

Headed by Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam, Malaysia's 24th-richest man according to Forbes, Westports helped move Port Klang a notch higher to the 13th spot in the world port traffic league last year, according to the Westports website.

The port has been recording 20 per cent growth in TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) over the last five years. Reuters

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