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SPNEC ends a tad higher on market debut

Leviste-led Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corp. (SPNEC) inched up to P1.01 on its market debut on Friday, closing one centavo or 1% higher than its initial public offering (IPO) price of P1.00 per share.

SPNEC is a unit of Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc.

The solar energy company opened 5% or five centavos lower at 95 centavos. It reached an intraday low of 76 centavos and traded for as much as P1.01.

Analysts said the renewable energy company could have done better on its first day. They are positive that its share price will improve in the coming days.

“It was a lukewarm reception for SPNEC. It could have performed better but several events changed the economic landscape which were beyond the company’s control,” said Luis A. Limlingan, head of sales at Regina Capital Development Corp., in a Viber message.

He enumerated these events as the US consumer price index, which hit 30-year highs, “acceleration of the US Federal Reserve to increase rates, and the first cases of Omicron variant to reach the Philippines.”

The Philippine government on Thursday reported the detection in the country of the first two cases of Omicron, the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant. Health officials said they had isolated the said patients and that their co-passengers in their flight were being traced.

The US central bank, meanwhile, has hinted it will have three rates hike next year, Reuters reported.

Diversified Securities, Inc. Equity Trader Aniceto K. Pangan said that SPNEC “performed unexpectedly better despite a volatile market,” noting the US Fed’s decision to tighten after its announcement to ramp-up the tapering of its stimulus program.

“Also, even the company has no operation yet. We may expect the company to perform better when it starts its commercial operation,” Mr. Pangan said in a

Viber message.

Led by 28-year-old Leandro L. Leviste, SPNEC is the first company to be listed in the exchange without operations. Solar Philippines generates solar energy from its own solar plant and sells it through bilateral contract to its consumers or to the spot market.

Net proceeds of the P2.7-billion IPO will finance a 500-megawatt solar power plant and will be used to acquire a lot in Nueva Ecija for the project.

SPNEC sold 2.7 billion shares for P1 apiece. The company said its offer was oversubscribed, reaching a total of P5.3 billion in orders.

“Despite the headwinds coming into today, we are pleased that the PSE’s last IPO of 2021 has ended on a high note. We believe in this issuance and look forward to see SPNEC to continue to create value coming into 2022,” said Paul Soo, chairman and CEO of Abacus Capital and Investments Corp., the offering’s underwriter.

Meanwhile, Philippine Stock Exchange President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said he is optimistic that SPNEC will be “as successful and profitable” as the two other solar farm projects of parent Solar Philippines in Batangas and Tarlac.

At the end of the trading day, nearly 1.72 billion SPNEC shares worth P1.61 billion were traded. — Marielle C. Lucenio

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