Astro IPO Raises $1.5 Billion in Robust Malaysian Market

Astro IPO Raises $1.5 Billion in Malaysian Initial Share Sale
Astro joins companies including Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd. and IHH Healthcare Bhd. in feeding investor appetite for new Malaysian equity, with the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index up 7.8 percent in 2012. Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd., the country’s largest pay-TV broadcaster, and shareholders including billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan raised 4.6 billion ringgit ($1.5 billion) in an initial public offering.

The company sold shares in Kuala Lumpur at 3 ringgit apiece, top of the marketed range, valuing it at $5.1 billion. Institutional demand was for more than 30 times the number of shares offered, the broadcaster said in an e-mailed statement.

Kuala Lumpur has been home to three of Asia’s four biggest IPOs this year with the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index closing at a record today after rising 8.5 percent in 2012. Demand for shares also exceeded supply when palm oil producer Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd. raised $3.3 billion and hospital operator IHH Healthcare Bhd. sold $2.1 billion of stock.

“Demand is mostly coming from foreigners,” said Jason Chong, who oversees $1 billion of assets as chief investment officer at Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. “Malaysia’s previous IPOs have been large and successful, so that adds to investor’s confidence that this IPO will succeed.”

IHH has jumped 14 percent since its July debut, while Felda has risen 4.6 percent after selling shares in June.

Defying Slump

Malaysia has defied a global slump in IPOs, with the value of new share sales in Kuala Lumpur more than tripling to $6.7 billion so far this year, including Astro, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Globally, the value of initial share sales dropped 33 percent in the same period, the data show.

That’s the most companies have raised in Malaysia through IPOs since a record $7 billion in 2010, including $4.2 billion by Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd. Malakoff Bhd., the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest independent power producer, is among corporates planning to selling shares.

Kuala Lumpur-based Astro was taken private in 2010 by Ananda Krishnan, the country’s second-richest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The re-listed company, which excludes the group’s overseas operations, raised 1.4 billion ringgit for itself as part of the IPO, it said in the statement. Astro had offered stock to institutions at 2.70 ringgit to 3 ringgit.

The Malaysia-born billionaire also has interests in real estate, telecommunications and oil and gas, and helped develop the 88-floor Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur -- the world’s tallest building until 2004.

Two other companies he bought out have since sold stock to the public after being restructured. Mobile-phone operator Maxis Bhd. raised $3.6 billion in a 2009 IPO. Bumi Armada Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest supplier of support vessels for the oil and gas industry, sold $882 million of shares in July last year.

Maxis has gained 41 percent from its offer price and Bumi Armada is up 23 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Malaysia’s CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., Malayan Banking Bhd., Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among banks managing the offer.

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