Philippine noodle giant Monde Nissin opens lower on debut

Manila (AFP) –


Philippine instant noodle giant Monde Nissin opened lower as it debuted on the country's stock market Tuesday after raising more than $1 billion in a record-breaking initial public offering in the Southeast Asian nation.

The maker of the Philippines' best-selling instant noodle brand Lucky Me! opened down 0.15 percent at 13.48 pesos after being offered at 13.50 pesos in a floatation that raised 48.6 billion pesos.

That gave the company a valuation of 242.6 billion pesos, which would rank it 14th among the 30 companies listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi), Bloomberg News reported.

The offering was four times oversubscribed, said Lexter Azurin, senior equity analyst at AB Capital Securities in Manila.

"Given the market uncertainty right now, it's actually quite positive that we're seeing demand has been quite brisk," Azurin added.

The PSEi has fallen more than seven percent this year, but rebounded in the past week.

Monde Nissin exports instant noodles, biscuits and crackers to dozens of countries. It also owns the British meat-substitute maker Quorn.

The money raised will be used to increase capacity and pay back loans, it said.

Monde said it has attracted cornerstone investors including Hong Kong insurer AIA and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

The company's stock market launch could bode well for other IPOs in the pipeline, including a planned share sale by the Philippines' privately owned National Grid Corp.