* Prospectus says to offer up to 2.337 bln shares
* Cemex looking at up to 17 pesos/share offer price
* Cemex says IPO an option for divestiture plan (Adds milestone, background)
By Enrico Dela Cruz
MANILA, March 14 (Reuters) - Cemex Holdings Philippines Inc, a unit of Mexican cement giant Cemex, is seeking to raise as much as 39.745 billion pesos ($855 million) in what is set to be the Philippines’ biggest initial public offering (IPO).
The IPO is one of the options Cemex is exploring as part of a divestiture plan. In February, the Mexican firm said it would raise funds by divesting some of its operations in order to cut debt by $2 billion by the end of next year.
Cemex Philippines plans to offer up to 2.337 billion common shares at a price of up to 17 pesos each, a preliminary prospectus filed with the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission showed.
A total of up to 5.195 billion Cemex Philippines shares will be outstanding after the IPO, it added. The Mexican firm, which fully owns Cemex Philippines, will have a 55 percent stake in the unit after the IPO, Reuters calculations show.
“We are currently in the first step of a registration statement and listing application process, as well as subject to applicable laws in the Philippines and in the U.S., and as such Cemex cannot comment on any further information related to the transaction,” the Mexican firm told Reuters on Monday.
According to Thomson Reuters data, the planned Cemex Philippines IPO in peso terms would be bigger than the record 37.7 billion pesos share sale in 2013 by conglomerate LT Group Inc of Filipino-Chinese tycoon Lucio Tan.
Cemex Philippines has tapped Citigroup, HSBC and JPMorgan to manage the IPO, but no timetable has been decided for the deal, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, said on Monday.
Cemex’s planned sale comes at a time when foreign investors are expected to return to the Philippines share market after the national elections in May, and refocus on the economy’s strength after their record net sales last year.
A number of Philippine firms are likely tap the stock market for their funding requirements in the second half, Philippine Stock Exchange President Hans Sicat has said.
$1 = 46.4800 pesos Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Additional reporting by Elzio Barreto and S. Anuradha of IFR in Hong Kong; Editing by Denny Thomas and Himani Sarkar