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Westports shares rally in Malaysia market debut

18 october 2013, 16:43
Shares in leading Malaysian ports operator Westports Holdings surged eight percent on their debut Friday, after raising more than $700 million in the country's largest initial public offering (IPO) this year, AFP reports.

Shares opened at 2.70 ringgit (0.86 US cents) on the Kuala Lumpur exchange, up from their 2.50 ringgit offer price.

CEO Ruben Gnanalingam said the company had raised 2.24 billion ringgit ($710 million) in the IPO, calling it "another remarkable milestone" for a company that manages the shipping terminal at the country's main port of Klang.

Westports is partly owned by Asia's richest man, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

"Our growth has been remarkable over these 19 years and we are proud to have helped revitalised Port Klang and bring it into the league of top container terminals in the world," Gnanalingam said, according to the text of a speech he gave at the stock's launch Friday.

Southeast Asia's third-largest economy saw a flurry of big listings last year, led by the $3 billion IPO of palm-oil giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings. Malaysia's stock market was the world's fifth-largest IPO market in 2012.

The market has been relatively quiet this year as caution reigned in the run-up to elections in May that were won by Malaysia's long-ruling coalition.

But in July, Malaysia-based airline AirAsia X listed on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange after raising $308.6 million from an IPO. AirAsia X is the long-haul arm of leading budget airline AirAsia.

Offshore drilling services firm UMW Oil and Gas Corp. announced early this month it planned to raise $535 million in a listing set for November 1.

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