Billion-dollar IPO rides on meat alternative boom

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    Food firm Monde Nissin Corp is aiming to list its shares in the first half of this year, in the country’s first billion dollar initial public offering, sources said, as the company hopes to attract investors to its expanding overseas meat alternative business.

    With an eye on international expansion, the company acquired Britain’s Quorn Foods for about $830 million in 2015.

    Monde Nissin plans to expand Quorn’s capacity and reach in key markets such as the United states. The meats alternative business, comprising Quorn and Cauldron brands, contributed 22 percent to Monde Nissin’s net sales of $1.4 billion last year.

    Last week, Monde Nissin filed for an IPO that could raise up to P63 billion at the top end of an indicative price range, kicking off what is expected to be a record year of fundraising for local firms.

    It did not give a timeline for the IPO’s launch.

    The four-decade-old group’s market leading position in the Philippines, with its ubiquitous Lucky Me! instant noodles and SkyFlakes biscuits, has propelled the family behind the conglomerate to the ranks of the country’s richest.

    Monde Nissin enjoys core profit margins of about 25 percent in its entrenched local food business versus roughly 15 percent at key rivals.

    “Given the size of the IPO, global funds are very keen to look at it and there’s interest from sustainability funds who want to deploy capital,” said one source.

    Monde Nissin declined to comment.

    “The primary reason for the IPO is that the group sees significant growth opportunities for its business in Asia as well as in the UK,” said another source.

    Last year, Quorn struck a multi-year partnership with Liverpool Football club to offer meat-free meals on match days.

    The sources who declined to be identified ahead of the listing, expected Monde Nissin to be valued at about $6.5 billion at the top-end. Conglomerate San Miguel Corp’s food and beverage unit is valued at $7.8 billion while snacks and beverage maker Universal Robina Corp is valued at $5.8 billion.