By Anshuman Daga, Liz Lee and Scott Murdoch
SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR/HONG KONG, July 29 (Reuters) - A handful of companies from the technology and consumer durables sectors are aiming to launch IPOs in Southeast Asia later this year, pointing to an upturn after pandemic-hit markets and weak economic growth slashed fundraising.
In Malaysia, home improvement retailer Mr DIY has re-started the process for its up to $500 million initial public offering (IPO), boosted by a business recovery, sources familiar with the deal said.
The company declined comment and the sources declined to be named due to confidentiality.
Earlier this month, Philippine fibre broadband services provider Converge ICT Solutions filed for an IPO of up to $725 million, cashing in on a surge in home working..
It held up to 50 meetings with investors this month to chart demand for the deal, one source said.
AREIT, Philippines' first real estate investment trust is also raising $275 million.
Activity is picking up in the region after grinding to a halt in the first quarter.
"IPOs which had been planned before the pandemic are just waiting for the right moment to come back," said Tham Tuck Seng, capital markets partner at PwC in Singapore.
"We've seen heightened interest from healthcare issuers to list as the sector has become more important," he said, also highlighting interest from consumer-tech firms.
Total fund raisings from IPOs in Southeast Asia have fallen to $1.4 billion so far this year from $2.9 billion a year ago, Refinitiv data shows. This excludes $3 billion raised by Thailand's Central Retail CRC.BK in February.
The Hong Kong market has started to heat up again with $38 billion raised this year in IPOs and secondary listings, according to Dealogic.
Sources cautioned that a pullback in global markets in recent weeks could still delay listings by Southeast Asian companies, but launches were being readied for later this year.
The Philippines' .PSI equity index has dropped 25% so far this year, while Indonesia .JKSE is down 19% and Thailand .SETI has lost 15%.
In Thailand, Siam Cement Group's SCC.BK packaging subsidiary is testing investor appetite for its $1 billion IPO, likely in the fourth quarter, which was shelved in March as markets were roiled by the epidemic, sources said. The company did not respond to a Reuters query.
Malaysia's Mr DIY had put its IPO on hold in March just before the country went into a lockdown. "The push towards the IPO is because the company's business recovery has been so fast," said one source.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore, Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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