Gokongwei on retail firm's IPO: 'We'll wait for right time'

MANILA, Philippines - The Gokongwei group will wait for the local stock market to stabilize before going ahead with the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its retail arm.

"It's more important that we have a successful IPO than necessarily going for an IPO so we'll wait for the right time," JG Summit Holdings Inc. president and chief operating officer Lance Gokongwei told reporters following the company's stockholders meeting on Thursday, June 27.

The market has been turbulent, touching bear levels and bouncing back in recent sessions, as the US mulls rowing back on its multi-billion-dollar stimulus program.

While they assess market conditions, Gokongwei said the target was still to launch the IPO of Robinsons Retail "sometime this year… by the end of this year."

Robinsons Retail eyes to sell up to 461.9 million shares for P86.64 each or a total of P40 billion. Up to 35% of the company would be sold to the public, according to Gokongwei.

The company is the second-largest multi-format retailer in the Philippines. It operates department stores, supermarkets, hardwares, home improvement and appliance stores, high-street fashion specialty stores and toy stores.

"The IPO is certainly important," said Gokongwei.

"There is huge consumer opportunity in the Philippines as the middle class grows. Access to capital is important to continue to gain market share in this industry and participate in its consolidation," he added. - Rappler.com