Fullerton cancels IPO over delays but says may launch share sale as early as in January

Fullerton raised $100 million through a maiden bond offering in June, a move that gave it the leeway to delay the IPO.

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Singapore's Fullerton Health has finally decided to call off the plan for an initial public offering (IPO) after a series of complaints about is business model resulted in long delays s in SGX listing.

Fullerton, the leading provider of corporate healthcare solutions across Asia Pacific, had planned its IPO to be launched in October, but it was delayed after the Singapore Monetary Authority asked clarifications over the wide-ranging complaints.

"In light of current market uncertainty, Fullerton Health has decided against proceeding with the proposed IPO, despite significant interest from high-quality international investors during the book-build," Fullerton Health said in a statement.

Singapore markets had held high hopes for the Fullerton IPO, as the medical company had been valued at around $1.13 billion. As the company veered around to IPO readiness, the market conditions had changed.

Fullerton, which offers corporate healthcare in five countries and has network of more than 8,000 medical providers, had originally wanted to launch the IPO before the US presidential elections. However, the delays caused by the complaints, most of them anonymous, about the working model stretched the timeline and the markets became roiled by then, Fullerton deputy chief executive Daniel Chan said.

"We will do an IPO when the time is perfect for us. Not when it is uncertain," Chan told the Straits Times. He suggested that the IPO, however, can come as early as January 2017.

Fullerton Health, which was previously Fullerton Healthcare, had planned to raise S$213 million from the IPO, pricing the offering at S$1.52 a share. The offering for individual investors was slated to start on Oct 10 according to regulatory filings.

Under the Singapore listing process, investors are allowed to submit comments on IPO prospectuses filed with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank.

However, groups of doctors and investors wrote to the authorities, questioning the company's business practices, including the 15 percent cut of doctors' fees under its managed care services. Fullerton has maintained it was not the questions that derailed the IPO process, but the delays caused by them.

"The queries came in staggered. They were not difficult questions, but it takes time to answer; we wanted to be thorough and many people had to review it ... Our understanding is that the majority, if not all, are anonymous .. they are surprisingly repetitive, Group chief financial officer Ramesh Rajentheran said.

Fullerton Health operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and Hong Kong. It has 200 clinics and facilities in the Asia-Pacific region. In June Fullerton raised $100 million through a maiden bond offering, a move that gave it the leeway to delay the IPO.