Philippines mulls easing of IPO rules for project companies

The relaxation of listing requirements aims to provide another funding option for proponents of PPPs in the country.

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has proposed opening itself up to companies with public-private partnership contracts worth at least PHP5 billion ($107 million; €96.4 million).

PSE is seeking comments from stakeholders on its proposed rules for PPP infrastructure project companies, which the Philippines sees as crucial to support a fresh infrastructure boost across the country.

Among the items being considered are the relaxation of requirements on track record and operating history. Under the proposed arrangements, PPP contracts would need to have a remaining validity of at least 15 years and a minimum cost of PHP5 billion. 

“We recognise the need for PPP companies to have funding options available to them. We hope that by enhancing our listing rules for infrastructure companies, PPP firms will consider raising capital through the stock market. In doing so, both the PSE and our investor base will serve as conduits in the country's economic growth,” said Roel A. Refran, chief operating officer of PSE, in a statement.

The draft legislation is the product of a series of consultations with various parties including the country's PPP Centre, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Asian Development Bank .

The measure would be in step with other Asian exchanges, such as those in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, which have provisions for listing infrastructure project companies. 

Domestic and international stakeholders can submit their comments to the PSE by 17 June. The final version of the rules will then be submitted to the SEC for approval.   

The Philippines' PPP programme has awarded 12 projects worth PHP217.4 billion since its inception. More than 40 projects are currently in the development pipeline.