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Philippine stocks attract new foreign investors

Fund managers keen on PH firms
/ 02:51 AM February 25, 2013

The Philippines, whose stock market has performed well in the last four years, is attracting a new batch of foreign institutional investors keen on including local equities in their portfolios for the first time, according to First Metro Securities Brokerage Corp.

FirstMetroSec recently brought Philippine-listed companies to this year’s Singapore leg of the Pulse of Asia Conference organized by DBSVickers Pte. Ltd. (DBSVickers) as part of the new research collaboration between the two institutions.

“The response from the regional fund managers, the Philippine companies we brought to the conference and our hosts was overwhelmingly positive. Roughly 80 percent of these institutional investors have not previously met the Philippine companies we brought and expressed strong interest in our market,” FirstMetroSec president Gonzalo Ordoñez said in a statement.

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The three Philippine companies brought by FirstMetroSec to the investor briefings were property developer Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC), infrastructure holding firm Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPI) and retailer Puregold Price Club Inc. (PGOLD).

“The small group sessions of the Philippine companies were packed. There were no one-on-one meetings possible since all time slots were filled. The program was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. but RLC had to begin at 8 a.m. to accommodate all interested fund managers. A majority of MPI’s meetings were with fresh names, despite their long exposure in the region,” Ordoñez said.

“Several participants I spoke with particularly mentioned how interested they were in the prospects of Puregold, with one initially exclaiming ‘so it isn’t a mining stock!’ and breaking out in laughter. They cited the prospects of the consumer sector and Puregold’s interesting story in particular,” he said.

Ordoñez said the participants ranged from those who have invested in the Philippines for some time, trying to weigh the risks that could derail the Philippine growth story, to those who were just beginning to notice and were looking for fresh opportunities.

The conference was attended by 400 regional fund managers and 85 listed companies from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The listed firms participated in a series of small group sessions with key institutional investors considering the Philippines. The sessions allowed each firm to present to 30-40 fund managers throughout the day and to closely interact with potential investors in a more private setting.

The conference, particularly the dialogues, also provided an international perspective to FirstMetroSec’s research coverage of these firms and the Philippine market.

FirstMetroSec and DBSVickers plan to continue inviting listed firms to future conferences in the United States and Europe as well as bring individual firms on separate road shows. They are keen on expanding joint distribution and working on new areas of collaboration.

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TAGS: Markets and Exchanges, Philippines, Pulse of Asia Conference, Singapore, stocks
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