The Philippine Stock Exchange, in Manila (Ayala Land’s Tower One). The PSEi is up about 3.7 per cent this month (from February 1, 2024), closing at 6,860 on Tuesday (February 27). Image Credit: Reuters

Manila: The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), one of Asia's oldest bourses, is forecasting that initial public offerings to double this year, rebounding from a lackluster 2023.

Market sentiment took a hit last year with interest rates at multi-year highs. 

The PSE expects several initial public offerings this year; the number being floated is from six to eight.

Trigger for more IPOs 2024

Despite headwinds posed by geopolitics, there exists a huge upward bias, with local share offers potentially raising around $2 billion, including expected sales by real estate investment trusts (REITS).

That's more than 20 times last year's figure – during which 3 companies raised a total of a modest $78.88 million. Moves by the central bank (BSP) to curb inflation by hiking rates, with the Reverse Repurchase Rate hitting 6.50 per cent (as of October 27, 2023) led to a more subdued shares market. The PSEi, Manila’s main index, ended 2023 down 2 per cent.

So far, the equities market has started 2024 on a strong note. The PSEi is up about 3.7 per cent this month (from February 1), closing at 6,860 on Tuesday (February 27). If the upbeat sentiment continues, there’s a chance for investor appetite to improve further, thus giving IPO-ready entities the impetus to pull the trigger this year.

We list the possible IPOs in Manila before 2024 is out, or as soon as summer:

#1. SM REIT ($ 1 billion)

In April 2023, SM Prime Holdings said it was looking to raise $1 billion (about 56 billion pesos) from the listing of a real estate investment trust (REIT) offering in 2024. The company is engaged in large-scale projects, including the ongoing 360-hectare reclamation project in Manila Bay, along with plans to acquire an additional 200 to 300 hectares of property in Luzon for a mixed-use township development.

In January, property-retail-banking conglomerate said in a disclosure that a planned IPO for its real estate holdings was “dependent on market conditions”.

A scene inside the SM Mall of Asia, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, with a total floor area of over 4.2 million square feet.

A senior company official, however, said they are re-evaluating their strategy on the $1-billion REIT due to their substantial cash reserves and the lackluster market performance of recent REITs.

“I’m not ruling it out this year but there’s no purpose right now to immediately go into [an IPO],” Filipino business tycoon and SM Prime executive committee chair Hans Sy told local media on the sidelines of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ annual banker’s night in January. “The cashflow of SM is very strong so we’re banking on that first unless we see another big opportunity to go in, then we will consider (launching the IPO),” he added.

What is REIT?
A Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) is a stock corporation established principally for the purpose of owning income-generating real estate assets, such as apartment buildings, office buildings, medical facilities, hospitals, hotels, resorts, highways, warehouses, shopping centres (also railroads).

#2. Metro Pacific Tollways Corp

On Tuesday (February 27) Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) indicated its intention to proceed with its initial public offering (IPO) plans this 2024, despite ongoing discussions regarding a potential merger with the toll road division of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

“Because this business is not that complicated; I don’t see why we can’t do it within the year,” MPTC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) told Philippine media. “We look forward to what regulatory approvals may be needed from Indonesia and the Philippines.”

MPTC currently manages various expressways, including the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, Manila-Cavite Expressway, NLEX Connector, and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.


The number of offerings in 1994, the biggest record of IPOs in the Philippines.
Cebu Cordova Link Expressway
A view of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in Central Philippines. Image Credit: MPTC

Meanwhile, SMC's expressway concessions comprise the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway System, and NAIA Expressway (NAIAX).

Pangilinan said discussions regarding a potential merger between the two entities are ongoing. “We are exchanging information so we will have an idea of the tollways," MVP stated. "In combination, it will be a significant company in the Philippines with starting EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) of around 50 billion pesos ($891 million). It is a significant company if you are to put two together,” the executive said. “It is good to have a significant company for listing,” Pangilinan added.

#3. GCash

GCash stands out as the dominant e-wallet provider in the Philippines. Owned by Mynt, a joint venture between Globe, Ant Financial, and investment funds like Warburg Pincus and Insight Partners, Gcash has solidified its position in digital finance, with 80+ million registered users, facilitating financial transactions for 60+ million individuals. Mynt’s last funding round (November 2021) valued the company at $2 billion.

Gcash App
Image Credit: Screengrab / GCash Youtube video

Preparations for GCash's impending initial public offering (IPO), possibly in the latter half of 2024, are underway. GCash is extending its global footprint, having obtained approval to fully launch in 16 countries, with a "beta" version already operational in nations such as the UK, Italy, Australia, the US, Canada, and Japan. This expansion underscores the company's ambition and growth prospects.

The company has its sights set on securing approvals in additional markets in Europe and Asia, within the current quarter. Its global expansion moves signify the momentum within the Philippines' digital finance sector, offering a glimpse into the future of e-wallets and their increasing significance in the global economy.

#4. Citicore Renewable Energy ($231.9 million)

The first, and most likely, offering for 2024 is Citicore Renewable Energy Corp. (CREC). The company is already filing for a share sale of up to $231.9 million. Citicore is one of several companies that pushed back their IPO plans to 2024. 

Based on its preliminary prospectus draft dated November 9, 2023 (subject to completion), the company will offer of up to 2.9 billion common shares (primary), with an overallotment option of up to 435 million secondary common shares. The offer price is up to Php3.88 per share, which will be listed and traded on the Main Board of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc (PSE).

CREC is leading “pure-play” renewable energy producer. As of September 30, 2023, the company had a gross installed capacity pipeline of 6,446.0MW in solar power generation and 812.5MW in onshore wind power generation in various stages of development. In November, the company executed an MOU covering the purchase of 100% of the shares in Rio Norte Hydropower Corporation (“RNHC”), which has begun to develop and construct a run-of-river hydro project with a gross installed capacity of 25.7MW in Isabela (Luzon).

This pipeline of renewable energy projects is in line with its goal of contributing approximately 1GW of ready-to-build/under construction solar energy capacity per year from 2023-2027, and increasing the share of renewables in the Philippine energy mix.


Number of initial public offerings in 2022 – the most since 2007.

#4. OceanaGold ($140 million)

During a recent economic forum in Manila, PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon confirmed that OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) is set to list in the local market, as required under its 25-year Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the Philippine government.

OGPI is engaged in the operation of the Didipio gold and copper mine in Nueva Vizcaya. OceanaGold announced in July 2021 that its FTAA with the government had been renewed.

On February 5, 2024, OceanaGold Philippines revealed plans to raise up to Php7.9 billion ($140.8 million) through an IPO in July. OGPI is a subsidiary of Canada-listed OceanaGold Corp.

Gerard Bond, president, and CEO of OceanaGold, expressed that the listing would offer investors the opportunity to benefit from “consistent dividend payments” derived from resources within the Didipio project.

OGPI engaged BDO Capital & Investment Corp. as the global coordinator, domestic underwriter, and bookrunner, while CLSA Ltd. was selected as the international underwriter.

The OGPI IPO will involve the sale of 456 million common shares, representing 20 per cent of the company, at a price of up to Php17.28 ($0.31) per share. The offering comprises secondary shares owned by a subsidiary of the foreign parent company.

#6. Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc. ($588 million)

Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc., led by Filipino billionaire Enrique Razon Jr., boasts a portfolio of power and infrastructure assets – including a controlling interest in Manila Water Co., a major concessionaire, and nearly half ownership of the Malampaya gas project, a vital energy source that meets a significant portion of the Philippines' power needs.

Enrique Razon richest Filipinos
Enrique Razon Jr., the second-richest Filipino, controls the ports operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), and gaming company Bloomberry Resorts. Razon also has interests in gold mining and oil exploration assets.

Prime Infrastructure's IPO is being closely watched, and is anticipated to be one of the largest IPOs in the country. The offering was scrubbed in 2023 due to unpredictable market conditions.

Prime Infra has already faced delays in its IPO plans, having deferred its listing in 2022. Based on company filing, the planned offering involves the sale of up to 1.97 billion shares, comprising 1.79 billion shares and an additional allotment option of 179.5 million shares, priced at Php16.80 (about $0.30) per share, aiming to raise over Php33 billion ($588 million).

In 2022, Prime Infra had targeted to raise Php28 billion through the sale of shares at Php14.60 each. Notably, all shares, including those under the over-allotment option for post-IPO price stabilisation, are primary shares intended for the company's expansion and operational needs. Razon has earlier proposed building small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) to boost the country's energy security.

#7. Ovialand Inc ($39.26 million)

In 2023, Ovialand Inc., the Olivares family-led property developer focusing on the affordable segment of the market, deferred its planned maiden listing amid volatility in local and global markets.

Ovialand had planned to raise Php2.2 billion ($39.26 million) from the sale of up to 336 million primary common shares and up to 24 million secondary common shares plus an over-allotment option of up to 36 million secondary common shares.

The offering price per share could reach up to Php5.60, according to a company regulatory filing. Ovialand was planning to use the proceeds of the IPO for land banking initiatives in South Luzon, particularly Laguna, and North of Metro Manila, particularly Bulacan.

#8. Cosco Capital REIT ($534 milllion)

In July 2023, the PSE disclosed that Lucio Co’s Cosco Capital was preparing for a REIT IPO worth as much as Php30 billion ($534 million) before end-2023, but decided to defer the public offering.

On its website, Cosco enumerates seven real estate subsidiaries within its portfolio: Ellimac Prime Holdings, Fertuna Holdings Corporation, Patagonia Holdings Corporation, Nation Realty Inc., 118 Holdings Inc., NE PACIFIC Shopping Centers Corporation, and Pure Petroleum Corporation. Pure Petroleum oversees a fuel terminal facility situated within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Presently, it operates a tank farm comprising nine fuel storage tanks with a collective capacity of 88.5 million liters, in addition to a 700 KL Ethanol tank and a 250 KL CME storage tank. The terminal also manages jetty facilities for bulk loading and unloading, mooring buoys, water storage tanks for fire protection and maintenance, along with truck loading racks.

The planned Cosco REIT IPO has a portfolio that includes industrial land.

Factors to watch:

• Inflation: If the data shows inflation has peaked, there is a chance for more IPOs in the local market. In 2023, the nation's inflation rate surged to 8.7 per cent, its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis. Although the rate of increase has since decelerated, the central bank (BSP) anticipates maintaining tight monetary policy, given that inflation in 2023 remained significantly above its target range of 2 to 4 per cent.

• Rate cuts: A cut in benchmark rates, possibly this second to third quarter – would be a sign for investors to get into local shares. In general, rate cuts have a positive net effect on equities. Philippine interest rates are currently at a 16-year high of 6.5 per cent following an emergency rate hike in October designed to tame consumer prices.

In line with global monetary trends, BSP is anticipated to cut benchmark interest rates by June, mirroring the expected policy rate easing by the US Federal Reserve. This could set mid- to late-2024 as a more favourable stage for the Philippines’ IPO aspirations.