Edgar Sia II

Retailer Merry Mart Consumer Corp. has priced its initial public offering (IPO) – the first in the local stock market this turbulent year – at the maximum price of P1 per share intended in its prospectus, drawing out investors seeking a new coronavirus pandemic-resilient and “basic essential” retail play.

This pricing will allow MerryMart to raise P1.6 billion from its public offering, which will run from May 27 to June 5.

It will bring its market capitalization to P7.59 billion upon its listing on the small, medium and emerging (SME) board of the Philippine Stock Exchange under the ticker MM on June 15.

PNB Capital & Investment Corp. is the sole underwriter of the offering.

This is seen as the second purely non-discretionary retail play in the market after Puregold Price Club. This non-discretionary segment – which includes groceries and pharmacies selling essential goods that people consume in good times or bad – are seen resilient to the looming economic recession caused by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown measures.

MerryMart, the newest venture of 43-year-old tycoon Edgar Sia II, currently operates seven branches and has several more that are ready to open once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other parts of the country is lifted.

Like how he had scaled up Mang Inasal and DoubleDragon to be nationwide players, Sia intends to build 100 stores by 2021. By 2030, the goal is to have 1,200 stores and P120 billion in annual systemwide revenues. Franchising is expected to play a role in its nationwide expansion.


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