Thai Life Shares Small Share of Southeast Asia’s Biggest IPO in 2022

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Traders are seen in front of a screen with trading numbers in red at the Stock Exchange of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Juarawee Kittisilpa

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BANGKOK, July 25 (Reuters) – Shares of Thai Life Insurance Plc (TLI) (TLI.BK) made a weak debut on the Bangkok Stock Exchange on Monday in Asia’s biggest initial public offering (IPO). Southeast so far this year.

TLI stock rose 0.63% at the open of the bell but quickly lost ground in line with the market to remain flat heading into the afternoon session.

The broader market (.SETI) was up 0.24% at 0422 GMT

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TLI shares were priced at 16 baht, raising at least 34.4 billion baht ($937 million) from the sale of 2.3 billion shares, about half of them to investors who bought before the transaction is made public, according to the regulatory documents.

“Today’s listing will help Thai Life grow strongly, and we will use the funds to improve business efficiency and customer service,” Chief Executive Chai Chaiyawan said before the opening bell.

The volume of capital market transactions, particularly IPOs, fell sharply in 2022 in Asia as global financial markets remained disrupted by geopolitics, rising interest rates and continued uncertainty caused by the Chinese regulatory upheaval.

Thai Life’s flat open was a reflection of a lofty valuation and broader market performance, analysts said.

“This was a very weak result for such a high-profile IPO, reflecting the high price of the IPO and generally weak market sentiment,” said M Corp Review analyst Athaporn Arayasantiparb.

The flat start is in line with Thailand’s listed insurance sector, which has weakened over the past month.

Share prices of major insurance stocks have fallen about 5.3% since TLI released its revised prospectus on June 24 ahead of its IPO launch, according to Global Equity Research analyst Arun George, who publishes on Smartkarma.

Thailand’s economy has been among the slowest to recover in the region, according to the latest report from the Asian Development Bank. Read more

TLI has the third largest market share among Thai insurers and competes with other market leaders – AIA, FWD and Muang Thai Life Assurance. She plans to use IPO funds to invest in digital transformation and strengthen partnerships.

TLI’s IPO is Thailand’s largest since microfinance firm Ngern Tid Lor (TIDLOR.BK) went public last year, raising 38 billion baht.

The insurer’s IPO was the biggest equity market deal in Southeast Asia in 2022, according to data from Refinitiv. There were $2.45 billion in IPOs in the region in the first half of 2022, compared to $6.1 billion in the same period last year.

($1 = 36.7000 baht)

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Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Ed Davies and Bradley Perrett

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