Stalled F1 listing set to roar back

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The Straits Times
Published on Mar 22, 2013
Stalled F1 listing set to roar back

By Magdalen Ng

THE stalled Formula One initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore is revving back to life, as market conditions improve.

Sources familiar with the proposal told The Straits Times that a listing could be possible as early as the second half of the year.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners initiated the listing process last year.

But it was put on hold amid turmoil in the equity markets, as the euro zone debt crisis unnerved investors.

The IPO was set to raise as much as US$3 billion (S$3.7 billion).

When contacted, CVC spokesman James Olley said that the firm had no comment.

Another banker with knowledge of the situation added that the documentation needed by the Singapore Exchange for the listing is up to date, but the company is in no hurry to decide.

"The company is in a good financial position; they have some leeway to wait for market conditions to improve," he said. "Listing by the end of the year is definitely possible," he added.

F1's listing in Singapore would tap its growing popularity in Asia, especially as the iconic night race here has been extended to 2017.

CIMB regional economist Song Seng Wun noted that while F1 and boss Bernie Ecclestone have been clear about their intentions to raise money from the market, such listings are functions of fickle market movements.

"It's all about timing. Right up to this week, before Cyprus happened, conditions seemed to be extremely conducive for equities," he said.

Mr Song added that the continued sounding out of the market by issue managers is to be expected, as that will affect "how much they can afford to price the listing".

There is continued uncertainty over a bailout for Cyprus, after lawmakers rejected a plan to tax bank deposits over €20,000 (S$32,200) but the Straits Times Index gained 19.25 points yesterday, or 0.59 per cent, almost recovering the loss from Wednesday. Mr Ecclestone did not respond to requests for comments.
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