After Mexico IPOs Dwindle, Two Companies Try to Buck Slump

(Bloomberg) -- A new real estate investment trust and a homebuilder are attempting to defy Mexico’s share sale slump with debut offerings that would double the number of IPOs this year.

Fibra Plus is aiming to raise 2.1 billion pesos to 2.9 billion pesos ($106 million-$146 million) on the stock exchange in October or November, Chief Executive Officer Gustavo Tome said in an interview Tuesday. Vinte Viviendas Integrales, a Mexican homebuilder, also announced this week plans for an initial public offering Sept. 28.

“Our strategy is to focus only on locations that are under-served by the market, where there is existing demand and, therefore, a window of opportunity,” Tome said in an interview from Mexico City. The company is targeting “double-digit returns for investors.”

Just two companies have gone public this year in Mexico, down from five during the same period of 2015. While REITS, known as Fibras in Mexico, were once considered market darlings, they’ve posted less-than-stellar results recently after getting swept up in Mexico’s economic slowdown. Falling oil prices have also damped investors’ hopes that Mexico’s oil fields would lure private companies and herald a commercial property boom.

Outperforming Market

Even so, the securities have held up better than the overall market in the past month’s slump. An index of 10 Fibras, which more than doubled in the two years after the first Fibra stock sale in March 2011, is down 0.8 percent in the past month, compared with 1.9 percent for the benchmark IPC index.

“It is a relatively complicated situation because of market volatility,” said Armando Rodriguez, an analyst at Punto Casa de Bolsa SA de CV, which will be the structuring agent in the Fibra Plus offering. “We have not seen a new Fibra list in more than a year.”

Fibra Plus’s planned issue “is relatively small compared to what other listed Fibras have issued,” reducing the risk of failing to raise the funds, he added.

Fibra Plus will use the funds to develop five commercial properties and four office complexes across seven states in central, western and southern Mexico, Tome said. Nemesis Capital, a real estate developer also headed by Tome, has contributed the land for the nine projects, and Fibra Plus will develop the properties itself, betting this will allow it to deliver higher margins. Fibra Plus estimates that its portfolio of properties will deliver a leveraged internal rate of return of 23 percent, and an unleveraged IRR of 18 percent.

“Mexico’s falling unemployment and rising bank lending, which has boosted families’ spending power, will underpin the growth of the business,” Tome said.

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