© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A janitor wearing a face mask cleans the lobby of the Philippine Stock Exchange amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Sept. 30, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

By Neil Jerome Morales and Anshuman Daga

MANILA (Reuters) – Monde Nissin Corp saw it shares weaken 0.14% at the opening bell on its stock market debut on Tuesday, after the Philippine food maker raised 48.6 billion pesos ($1 billion) in the country’s largest-ever initial public offering (IPO).

The IPO, Southeast Asia’s second-largest this year after the $1.8 billion IPO of Thailand’s PTT Oil and Retail Business PCL in February, heads a pipeline of Philippine share sales.

“The new funding will enable us to supercharge our growth,” Chief Executive Henry Soesanto said at the listing ceremony.

The firm will invest the IPO proceeds in research and development as well as in production capacity to capture fast-growing opportunities in the global alternative protein market, Soesanto said.

Monde Nissin’s stock traded at 13.48 pesos at market open versus an IPO price of 13.5 pesos, having risen to as much as 13.56 pesos in the first minutes of trade. The local benchmark share price index was down 0.66% as of 0151 GMT.

Analysts previously said the leading noodle and biscuit maker had priced its IPO conservatively in a market that so far this year has lost 7%, making it the region’s worst performer.

The oversubscribed IPO was supported by 11 cornerstone investors including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd as well as private equity funds Eastspring Investments and Capital Group.

Monde Nissin has seen steady growth in its ubiquitous Lucky Me! instant noodles and SkyFlakes biscuits. It is also betting big on the overseas meat alternatives business through Britain’s Quorn Foods, which it acquired for about $830 million in 2015.

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