Singapore wants tech firms to list on local exchange

Country's ICT regulator and stock exchange will work together to make it easier for high-tech companies to tap available capital and file for public listing in Singapore.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are teaming up to help high-tech companies get access to capital and encourage them to list on the local bourse.

The aim was to create "a streamlined pathway" for companies accredited by IMDA to tap private and public capital markets for expansion, they said in a statement Wednesday. Both organisations said they would aim to lower access barriers to funds, drive more high-tech IPOs, and improve Singapore's proposition as a venue for capital raising.

These efforts would target tech companies under the Accreditation@IMDA scheme, launched in July 2014 to identify and nurture promising startups as well as assess their technical, financial, and operational capabilities.

Together with SGX, IMDA would rope in other players in the financial industry to guide these companies towards their IPO, such as facilitating pre-IPO funding, offering advice on listing processes, and preparing them for IPO listing. Law and audit firms also would be brought in to provide relevant information.

The range of services would include high-level assessment of the company's corporate governance standards, risk management, financial reporting systems, and infrastructures. They also would be able to get advice on listing requirements and issues related to corporate finance.

Industry players that currently had agreed to support the SGX-IMDA initiative included EY, KPMG in Singapore, RHT Capital, Clifford Chance.

"The intention is to better prepare the accredited companies for listing by embedding some of the steps required to become IPO-ready into IMDA's existing accreditation processes," according to the statement. "IMDA-accredited companies will, thus, benefit from more streamlined processes when seeking to raise capital."

SGX CEO Loh Boon Chye said the partnership would establish better understanding amongst Singapore technology companies of tapping local capital markets as a source of funding and offer a launchpad to expand their business into the region.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said: "Today's collaboration between IMDA and SGX will provide high-growth infocomm media companies access to capital markets, allowing them to leverage Singapore's well-developed financial ecosystem to support their growth and expansion plans."

About 40 percent of SGX-listed companies currently originated outside of Singapore, as did 75 percent of listed bonds.

To date, companies under the Accreditation@IMDA programme had been awarded more than 90 government projects, generating more than S$70 million. They also raised some S$28.9 million in capital from venture capitalists or investors during or after receiving IMDA accreditation.

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