camila July 8, 2021

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Singapore buyout firm Novo Tellus Capital Partners is considering setting up a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) to list in the city-state as regulators prepare to authorise the vehicles in the local market, sources said.

The technology and industrials-focused private equity firm has had preliminary discussions with banks, said the sources, who asked not to be identified as the process is private. The company is awaiting official exchange guidelines before making a final decision, the sources said.

Novo Tellus would join Vertex Holdings, a unit of Temasek, in seeking to be among the first to launch a blank-cheque company in the city-state, Bloomberg News reported this week. A Spac-driven surge in listings would benefit Singapore’s exchange, which has seen just three initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, raising US$242 million (S$326 million) in total, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Deliberations are ongoing and the firm may decide not to proceed with the vehicle, the sources said. A representative for Novo Tellus declined to comment.

The Singapore Exchange consulted the market on a framework for Spac listings earlier this year. Regulators proposed requirements including a minimum $300 million market capitalisation threshold for listing a blank-cheque company.

The consultation took place amid a frenzy for Spacs in the United States that helped drive first-half global IPO volumes to an all-time record. While about US$118 billion has been raised through blank-cheque firm listings globally so far this year, the trend may be losing steam. Spacs accounted for about 13 per cent of IPO volumes in the second quarter, compared with nearly half the amount raised in the first three months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Novo Tellus raised US$250 million for its second South-east Asia fund in December, according to its website. The firm’s portfolio includes stakes in Tessolve Semiconductor, an Indian semiconductor engineering services firm, and Procurri Corp, a Singaporean provider of equipment and services to data centres.