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Largest IPO in Asia floats

Philippines conglomerate SM Investments has floated on the Manila Stock Exchange, selling 115 million shares for Ps28.75 billion (US$528 million) in what is the largest ever offering on the local exchange and the biggest in Asia so far this year.

Macquarie and BDO Capital priced the deal. Of the total shares sold, 80% went to overseas investors in pre-trading allocation. Bankers and lawyers involved with the deal saw it as a highly positive sign for regional equity markets that have yet to recover fully from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Law firm Linklaters advised SM Investments alongside local firm Pacis & Reyes. Macquarie and BDO were advised by SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan.

Simon Davies, Linklaters' managing partner in Asia, said: "We view the Philippines as an exciting place to be right now. Particularly interesting is that its stock market is the best performing of any in Asia so far this year and there is talk of more of these types of deals in the pipeline. We expect other Philippine companies looking to list will be examining this deal closely, particularly for pointers on how to bring such a large and complex IPO to market within three months."

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