Freeman Cebu Business

Homegrown fashion brand focuses on global expansion

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

IPO takes a back seat for now 

CEBU, Philippines - While going public seems like an attractive option for the globally expanding Golden ABC Inc., it is however not a priority for the company, at least for now.

"Being public slows you down a bit," said Golden ABC Inc., president and chief executive officer Bernie Liu.

Liu however clarified that it is not closing its doors to a possible Initial Public Offering (IPO) and welcome the investing public to his growing fashion retail company, but for now, the company is setting its focus on its expansion plans outside the country.

The manufacturer of Penshoppe and other Filipino fashion brands, Liu said the company, being a family corporation, is not keen on going public just yet.

Golden ABC Inc., is one of the many growing Cebuano companies that have entered the overseas territories, but still keeping their distance on a public offering.

But this particular move is certainly part of the company's options in moving forward. This time though, he said the company as well as the family behind it, is not yet ready to go public.

Liu mentioned the tasking requirement in the getting into IPO, like dealing with "good housekeeping" within the company, among others, which may disrupt the company's momentum in expanding its wings to international shores.

When the organization is ready, going public is part of the company's masterplan, but not in the near term, he reiterated.

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) had been urging Cebuano companies to enlist in the capital market to strengthen the value of their company, as the world is becoming much smaller, and competition toughens.

"When you are listed, even if you do not raise funds, you already determine the value of the company," said PSE chief operating officer (COO) Roel A. Refran.

In today's highly competitive market, and global mindset is compulsory, a company that is listed commands respect, integrity, from the market, and good tool to impress global investors, said Refran.

Being listed, which requires transparency, good governance, and professionalism, will bring even family-run companies to last through generations.

According to PSE, a company that still adapts a "secretive culture" cannot sustain in this new age of doing business.

Most of SMEs still have the Filipino pre-disposition that the only source of capitalization are the banks, while alternative funding resources are easily available in other channels, such as the capital market, Refran added.

Besides, today is the best time for Filipino companies to take advantage of the bullish stock market in the Philippines, which has been recognized as the "star" among the financial centers in Asia.

"We are now touted as bright liners in Asia," said Refran, emphasizing that the Philippine market has been generating profits in the past six consecutive years, and "we should all be excited."

“They [SMEs] still have to understand how the equity market can help build their businesses. Once they appreciate it, they will go after it. The gestation period takes time. Some are hesitant to give-out their control in their businesses, [once they go public],” said Refran.

But despite these benefits, Liu said going public can wait, while his company is still putting its eyes on penetrating emerging markets in Asia, and other continents.

Aside from Penshoppe, Golden ABC Inc., is also the company behind other fashion brands like Oxygen, Memo, For Me, Regatta and Tyler. (FREEMAN)

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