Singapore courts local tech giants over ‘national duty’ to relist

Singapore is lobbying for its biggest tech companies to relist in the city-state, arguing it is their “national duty” amid an escalation in the financial hub’s drive to boost the attractiveness of its stock market.

Over the past year, stock market officials have stepped up attempts to persuade Singapore-based companies, including tech conglomerate Sea and Superapp To grabto return to the U.S. after the IPO closes, people familiar with the discussions said.

Officials have previously touted the benefits of a secondary listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange sea, and presented it as an opportunity to get included in local equity indices and benefit from additional cash flows, one of the people said. More recently, however, the company has come under pressure to fulfill its “national duty” to the city-state, they added.

Singapore’s patriotic stance underscores its fight to attract more high-profile listings to the stock market, despite the financial hub in recent years becoming a popular incubator for tech companies like Sea, which owns e-commerce app Shopee and popular online game free fire.

Sea and Grab have considered selling Homecoming stock after similar moves by Chinese tech companies in Hong Kong. but SGX got entangled in low trading volumes and accounting scandals that have led to delistings, while the global tech market has reduced the appeal of another IPO this year.

A financial industry expert in Singapore said there had been apparent efforts to put pressure on overseas-listed companies since the beginning of this year.

Grab, a ride-hailing and food delivery app that a $40 billion listing in New York in December, was also targeted, the person said. The merger with a special purpose vehicle was the largest of its kind in the world.

A person close to Sea, a $39.8 billion company that debuted in New York in 2017, said SGX officials have requested meetings with the company every few months.

Singapore’s charm offensive follows a handful of startups in neighboring Indonesia opted for a local listing for their IPO. Jakarta has lured companies away from more developed markets with looser regulations, such as allowing dual class shares that give founders greater control over their companies.

When GoTo, the country’s largest tech startup, went public in Jakarta in April, CEO Andre Soelistyo said he wanted “to express our gratitude to the Indonesian government. . . for their continued commitment to the growth of Indonesia’s digital economy.”

But the person close to Sea said the company is unlikely to bow to pressure from Singapore. Sea was allowed to be included in the MSCI index of Singaporean companies in May last year after the index provider said overseas-listed companies would be allowed.

Like Grab, Sea’s stock is down more than three-quarters over the past 12 months amid a broader sell-off in tech stocks, further dampening incentives to raise money at its current valuation.

Grab and Sea declined to comment. SGX did not respond to a request for comment.

Singapore courts local tech giants over ‘national duty’ to relist Source link Singapore courts local tech giants over ‘national duty’ to relist

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