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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Century Tuna maker's stock shines on market debut

Shares of Century Pacific Food Inc surged Tuesday on its debut in the Philippine Stock Exchange, defying the sluggish performance of the broader market.

The Century Tuna maker’s stock opened at P15.50 per share, an increase of 12.73 percent from the listing price of P13.75 per share. It peaked at P16.04 apiece in morning trade.

"For the stock to go up by 12 percent in a market that is moving nowhere is a testament to the market's perception of the company. The main selling point is its recognized brand name," said Jose Vistan of AB Capital Securities Inc. The bellwether PSE index was swinging between gains and losses in morning trade.

Aside from Century Tuna, the company is also behind the brands 555 Sardines, Argentina Corned Beef, Swift, Angel and Birch Tree.

"It's very flattering that the market has responded this way," Century Pacific president Christoper T. Po said on the sidelines of the company's listing ceremony.

Stephen CuUnjieng, Evercore chairman for Asia, said the leading canned food manufacturer could have priced the initial public offering (IPO) at P14.50 per share but it opted to leave a little more on the table.

"The issuer chose that they wanted to come in at a price fair to them and at a price fair to investors to make sure the IPO was well received," CuUnjieng said. Evercore advised Century Pacific in the offering.

Investors swamped this year's third IPO, which was 3.5 times oversubscribed, said Ed Francisco, president of BDO Capital & Investment Corp, one of the underwriters of the transaction. Institutional investors took up 65-70 percent of the shares.

Century Pacific raised P3.16 billion from the sale of 229.65 million shares to repay debt, fund working capital and potential acquisitions, expand production capacity and improve efficiency.

Century Pacific is “comfortable” to hit the upper end of its P1.1 billion to P1.5 billion guidance on the back of the mid- to high-teens growth in revenues and margin improvements, Po said.

In the first quarter, the canned food manufacturer grew its top line near the 20 percent mark, he added.

Aside from BDO, First Metro Investment Corp and BPI Capital Corp were tapped to underwrite the offering.

Century Pacific is the third company to go public this year after Top Frontier Holdings Inc, which joined the bourse through listing by way of introduction, and DoubleDragon Properties Corp, which entered the PSE through the IPO route.

- Interaksyon

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