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Robinsons Retails Group prepares for IPO

Robinsons Retail Group, the Philippine retailer and operator of stores including Toys “R” Us, Topshop, and Ben Sherman (in the Philippines), has appointed Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and UBS to manage a seeming $800m initial public offering scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

The billionaire owner, John Gokongwei, is selling during a bullish time for the Southeast Asian economy as investors, mostly foreign, are flooding into the country on the back of simultaneous positive indicators for domestic markets: Philippine equities are up 26.3% year to date making the national stock market the strongest stock market in the region; Fitch Ratings upgraded the country’s credit rating to investment grade in March; and (positive) demographic and education indicators put the country as a nation of college-graduates, with a growing capital city-centric population of 600m.

The $2.8bn raised in the country so far, this year, puts the fast-growing economy (6.6% in 2012) ahead of last year’s top performer Malaysia. The proffered IPO will corroborate international sentiment as the region as a whole booms, and will follow, last month, Luico Tan’s  $914m share sale in Philippine LT Group.  That the Philippine economy is growing strongly in line with the rest of the region (Indonesia grew 6.2% in 2012) makes a notable investment proposition following an overarching shift in global consumption from the west to the east.

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