Singapore’s Nanofilm Technologies International launched an initial public offering on Friday, which three sources with knowledge of the matter said could raise up to S$510 million ($375.4 million).
If successful, it would be the largest listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in recent years, excluding those from real estate investment trusts for which SGX has become a global hub over the past decade.
A spokeswoman for Nanofilm, which makes coating materials for smartphones, televisions and smartwatches among others, declined to comment.
“Singapore has invested time and resources in nurturing homegrown and regional technology companies, many of which are ready to tap the capital markets for further growth,” Mohamed Nasser Ismail, SGX’s equity capital markets chief said in an email.
Nanofilm would be the first local tech unicorn -- a term used for startup companies valued at more than $1 billion -- to list in Singapore, he said.
While Hong Kong has become Asia’s dominant IPO market, SGX has been taking steps to attract companies, which have in the past been concerned about the valuations they can command in Singapore.
“Hopefully, this deal will re-open the market for SGX listings,” said one banking source who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Founded in 1999 as a technology spin-off from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University by Shi Xu, a professor, Nanofilm counts Canon and Microsoft among its 300-plus customers. Xu is the company’s executive chairman.
In a prospectus lodged with the regulator on Friday, Nanofilm said it had secured 13 cornerstone investors, which sources said would take up just over 50% of the offering.
These included subsidiaries of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, marking a rare move by Temasek firms to invest in local IPOs, Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) and Nikko Asset Management Asia.
Citi, Credit Suisse and OCBC Bank are joint global coordinators and bookrunners with investment bank CLSA.
($1 = 1.3587 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan)