Traders are seen in front of a screen with trading numbers in red at the Stock Exchange of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Juarawee Kittisilpa

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BANGKOK, July 25 (Reuters) – Shares of Thai Life Insurance Plc (TLI) (TLI.BK), Southeast Asia’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) so far this year, closed slightly below the bid price on their first day of trading on Monday.

TLI initially rose 0.63% but ended the day 0.62% below IPO price as the broader Thai market rose 0.49% (.SETI)

TLI was the most actively traded stock on the Bangkok Stock Exchange with more than 639 million shares traded, according to the data.

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TLI shares were priced at 16 baht and the sale of 2.3 billion shares raised at least 34.4 billion baht ($937 million), about half of which came from investors who bought before the transaction is made public, according to the regulatory documents.

The volume of capital market transactions, particularly IPOs, fell sharply in 2022 in Asia as global financial markets remained disrupted by geopolitics, rising interest rates and continued uncertainty caused by the Chinese regulatory upheaval.

Thai Life’s flat open was a reflection of a lofty valuation and broader market performance, analysts said.

The flat start is in line with Thailand’s listed insurance sector, which has weakened over the past month.

Share prices of major insurance stocks have fallen about 5.3% since TLI released its revised prospectus on June 24 ahead of its IPO launch, according to Global Equity Research analyst Arun George, who publishes on Smartkarma.

“Given the company’s past growth record, we see no reason for it to be trading at a premium to its intrinsic value and as a result, shares are likely to decline,” said Sumeet Singh, chief executive. research at Aequitas.

TLI’s total revenue decreased by 0.69% in 2020 and increased by only 1.49%, reaching 109.2 billion baht in 2021, according to its financial accounts.

Thailand’s economy has been among the slowest in the region to recover from the impact of the pandemic, according to the latest report from the Asian Development Bank. Read more

TLI has the third largest market share among Thai insurers and competes with other market leaders – AIA, FWD and Muang Thai Life Assurance. She plans to use IPO funds to invest in digital transformation and strengthen partnerships.

The insurer’s IPO was the biggest equity market deal in Southeast Asia in 2022, according to data from Refinitiv. There were $2.45 billion in IPOs in the region in the first half of 2022, compared to $6.1 billion in the same period last year.

($1 = 36.7000 baht)

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Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Ed Davies, Bradley Perrett and Simon Cameron-Moore

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