Spark Plus tackles ASX-listed companies’ funding gap by opening doors to Asian investors

Published: Thu Dec 13 2018

Expanding its global footprint to Perth, the leading Singapore-based corporate access firm introduces ASX-listed companies to investors from Singapore and Hong Kong.

Singapore-based Spark Plus, an independent corporate access firm, is tackling the investment gap faced by its predominantly Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed customer base. Setting up a base in Perth, Spark Plus aims to better serve its customers and strengthen its presence on the continent.

Currently, there are over 2240 listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange. However, it is a challenge for many companies as the local capital pool is very retail centric and much smaller compared to Asia’s fund management havens - Singapore and Hong Kong. In Singapore for instance, there are 726 entities with a Capital Markets License and over 1000 hedge funds have set up shop in the city state.

Omar Taheri, CEO at Spark Plus says, "We see the demand for Australian listed companies wanting to diversify their shareholder register into Asia, as there are larger pools of capital in the region given the tax friendliness of setting up a fund in Singapore and Hong Kong. Furthermore, companies feel that if they can attract institutional capital out of Asia it gives them further credibility in their home market."
In addition to the recently newly-established office in Perth, Spark Plus will further enhance operations in December by taking a stake in an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) entity that, among other services, supports Australian companies to get listed on the local stock exchange.

"Genesis Energy believes that our unique competitive advantages will be attractive to investors in Singapore and Hong Kong looking for a high yielding stock with good growth potential operating in a well-functioning energy market. Our diverse generation portfolio ensures stability in variable market conditions. We are transforming our customer platform to deliver growth and remain on track to deliver sustained earnings and dividend growth underpinning a top quartile TSR," says Wendy Jenkins, Group Manager Planning & Investor Relations at Genesis Energy Ltd (ASX:GNE), one of New Zealand’s largest companies with a market cap of $2.5 billion.

Spark Plus’ founder and advisory board represent a team of hedge fund professionals, entrepreneurs and senior bankers. With the mission of creating a gateway into Asia, Spark Plus provides small- to mid-cap companies access to its vast network of Asian investors through non-deal roadshows and corporate access days held regularly in Singapore and Hong Kong. The company’s coveted network includes over 5,000 accredited investors, including hedge funds, family offices, wealth managers, mutual funds, private banks and brokers, as well as High Net Worth Investors (HNWIs).

Having been founded amidst the MiFID II regulatory shift in corporate access, Spark Plus is bringing new ideas to Asia’s highly professional investors and institutions, thereby providing these relatively early stage companies with the opportunity to gain visibility and diversify their typically domestically-focused shareholder base to hedge against economic risks during volatile market swings and improve liquidity on traded shares.

Given the reputation of Australia as a safe jurisdiction, the corporate governance imposed by the ASX and the liquidity of traded shares, the companies presented by Spark Plus provide a unique opportunity for Asia’s vast capital pool to find new avenues to flourish at a lower risk, which could provide higher returns on investment for Singapore and Hong Kong when the money is reinvested locally.
Calvin Ng, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Aura Group states, "There are more growth stocks in Australia (as opposed to banks and REITs), the Australian market also has a big IPO pipeline which makes it interesting to find unique opportunities."

Spark Plus’ roadshows and corporate access days have attracted a wide spectrum of companies from industries such as mining, technology, healthcare and biotechnology, consumer goods and real estate with a market cap ranging from $15 million to $2.5 billion.

In the words of James Graham, Executive Director of Recce Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:RCE): "In my experience, business is built on relationships and no place more so than in Asia. Spark Plus’ network, introductions and post roadshow feedback have been invaluable in this regard."
Contact Name: Omar Taheri
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