Philippine bourse to relax listing rules to attract firms

Credit: REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ

The Philippines' bourse operator aims to ease requirements on companies planning to go public, in a bid to boost the number of listed firms and raise the profile of a bourse that has been Southeast Asia's worst year-to-date performer.

MANILA, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The Philippines' bourse operator aims to ease requirements on companies planning to go public, in a bid to boost the number of listed firms and raise the profile of a bourse that has been Southeast Asia's worst year-to-date performer.

In a draft memorandum for public comment, the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc (PSE) PSE.PS said it would remove the minimum capital requirement of 500 million pesos ($10.3 million), replacing it with a three-year cumulative net income requirement of 75 million pesos.

For IPO applicants in 2021 and 2022, the requirement on profitable operations for this year would be scrapped, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the virus struck, the Philippines was for years one of Asia's fastest growing economies, but it has long struggled to attract companies to its stock market, with just seven initial public offerings in the past three years.

The revisions would position the "equities market as a viable capital raising option for companies looking to fund their recovery measures or pursue their expansionary plans," the PSE said.

To date, 271 companies were listed in the Philippine bourse, or just 6.7% of the 4,072 public firms across seven stock exchanges in Southeast Asia. Its main index .PSI has lost 25% of its value this year.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty)

((neiljerome.morales@thomsonreuters.com))

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