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Mobius Praises Slim for Overpricing Sanborns IPO That’s Slumped

Templeton Chairman Mark Mobius
Templeton Asset Management's Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius pauses during a presentation in Bangkok. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, called billionaire Carlos Slim’s latest initial public offering “overpriced” and praised him for fetching such a high value.

Grupo Sanborns SAB, Slim’s department store operator and retailer of Apple Inc. products, raised 10.5 billion pesos ($818 million) in its Feb. 7 offering before accounting for an overallotment option. The shares were sold at 28 pesos each. While that was near the bottom of the 27 pesos to 32 pesos range projected in the sale’s prospectus, the stock fell in eight of the first nine trading days before rebounding over the past week. The shares rose 0.8 percent today to 27.75 pesos.

“It was very, very highly priced -- in our view overpriced -- which again you’ve got to congratulate him on,” Mobius told reporters today in Mexico City. “He’s been able to sell his company at a very good price, and maybe it’s time to look at it now that it’s come back down.”

The stake in Sanborns was sold by Slim’s holding company, Grupo Carso SAB, amid a string of share sales in Latin America’s second-biggest economy, including a 22 billion-peso secondary offering in January by real-estate investment trust Fibra Uno Administracion SA. Even after falling, Sanborns shares trade about about 22 times trailing earnings, compared with about 19 times for the benchmark IPC index of 35 Mexican companies, according to Bloomberg data.

An official at the holding company declined to comment on the IPO price.

Apple Computers

The company plans to use part of the proceeds to build new retail stores and remodel others, according to the prospectus. The billionaire’s retailer operates Sears department stores in Mexico and iShops that sell Apple computers, phones and tablets. It also runs the Sanborns brand of shops and restaurants.

Mobius’s $2.5 billion Templeton Developing Markets Trust gained 3.5 percent this year, beating 92 percent of its peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund returned 7.2 percent annually over the past three years, beating 65 percent of its competitors.

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