SINGAPORE/MANILA, March 11 (Reuters) - Food maker Monde Nissin Corp is aiming to list its shares in the first half of this year, in the Philippines’ first billion dollar IPO, sources said, as the company hopes to attract investors to its expanding overseas meat alternative business.
Last week, Monde Nissin filed for an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise up to 63 billion pesos ($1.3 billion) at the top end of an indicative price range, kicking off what is expected to be a record year of fundraising for local firms.
It did not give a timeline for the IPO’s launch.
The four-decade-old group’s market leading position in the Philippines, with its ubiquitous Lucky Me! instant noodles and SkyFlakes biscuits, has propelled the family behind the conglomerate to the ranks of the country’s richest.
Monde Nissin enjoys core profit margins of about 25% in its entrenched local food business versus roughly 15% at key rivals.
“Given the size of the IPO, global funds are very keen to look at it and there’s interest from sustainability funds who want to deploy capital,” said one source.
Monde Nissin declined to comment.
With an eye on international expansion, the company, whose founders keep a very low public profile, acquired Britain’s Quorn Foods for about $830 million in 2015.
Monde Nissin plans to expand Quorn’s capacity and reach in key markets such as the United states. The meats alternative business, comprising Quorn and Cauldron brands, contributed 22% to Monde Nissin’s net sales of $1.4 billion last year.
“The way I see it, they are expanding their market. They are creating more avenues,” said Manila-based Robert Ramos, trust group head at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
“There’s a lot of interest in green investment and ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) this day and age. That gives this particular issuer some advantage,” said Ramos.
The global meat substitutes market has surged over recent years on consumer concerns about health, sustainability and animal welfare, that have helped firms such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods lure record investments.
“The primary reason for the IPO is that the group sees significant growth opportunities for its business in Asia as well as in the UK,” said another source.
Last year, Quorn struck a multi-year partnership with Liverpool Football club to offer meat-free meals on match days.
The sources who declined to be identified ahead of the listing, expected Monde Nissin to be valued at about $6.5 billion at the top-end. Conglomerate San Miguel Corp’s food and beverage unit is valued at $7.8 billion while snacks and beverage maker Universal Robina Corp is valued at $5.8 billion. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Robert Birsel)