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Cebu-based companies deemed ripe to go public

CEBU, Philippines - An official from BPI Capital Corp. believes there are quite a number of Cebu-based companies that are well positioned to go public.

Reginaldo Cariaso, senior managing director and investment banking co-head, said he looks forward to opportunities of more Cebu companies deciding to go public in the future, with property firm Cebu Landmasters Inc. as the latest Cebu company to launch its initial public offering (IPO) come June 2.

BPI Capital, the investment arm of Ayala-led BPI, is one of the book-runners of CLI's IPO.

"There are some very strong companies in VisMin (Visayas and Mindanao) particularly Cebu," Cariaso said in an interview on Thursday. "Some of them are much bigger than you think."

"We've met quite a few of them and I think if and when they decide to go public, I think they would be successful," he said.

"There are quite a few Cebu-based or VisMin-based companies that are well positioned for listing," the investment banker said.

He, however, declined to disclose the names of these companies that are potentially capable to launch an IPO on the Philippine Stock Exchange, saying their conversations were confidential.

Cariaso revealed these companies are engaged in consumer, retail and manufacturing sectors.

He said there are some family-run businesses that are reluctant to go public which takes a lot of work.

He added some family companies just want to keep the business ownership to them.

"Being a publicly listed company requires transparency, good corporate governance and being able to deal with new shareholders that will have a view on your business and know what your strategy is," he noted.

Going public, he stressed, is a big decisions companies have to make as it will professionalize management, determine who's going to run the company, and allow the access to capital to compete more efficiently.

When companies look to further grow and finance that growth, he said an IPO is a good strategy.

In previous interviews with company CEOs with The FREEMAN, real estate developers Grand Land Inc. and AppleOne Properties were among those that expressed intent to go public.

AppleOne President and CEO Ray Manigsaca had said the firm had been talking initial steps for the planned IPO.

Grand Land President Ryan Bernard Go had also said the company was open to becoming a public company soon.

Previously, Cebu-based retail chain Gaisano Capital vice president Edmund Gaisano Jr. had said going public could be a long-term strategy of the firm depending on its capital requirements in the future.

In November 2015, Cebu's Metro Retail Stores Group of the Gaisano family had also debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange. (FREEMAN)

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