I-Remit sets sight on IPO this year

REMITTANCE company I-Remit Inc. has said it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) toward the last quarter of this year.

It has named investment house First Metro Investment Corp. as financial adviser, issue manager and underwriter for the IPO.

The company did not provide details of the planned IPO.

The company`s board has approved an increase in the company`s capital to P500 million from P163 million to finance its ongoing expansion. Proceeds of the IPO will be used to open new branches and expand to new markets as well as to finance its working capital requirements to meet the increasing volume of remittances.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or the Philippine central bank showed total overseas Filipino workers` (OFWs) remittances reached $12.8 billion in 2006, or up 20 percent from $10.7 billion recorded in 2005.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said there were about 8.23 million OFWs in 2006, translating to a year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent. As of May, OFW remittances have exceeded the $1-billion mark for the 13th straight month. The BSP expects total remittances in 2007 to hit $14 billion.

In the next few months, I-Remit said it will intensify strategic marketing alliances and initiatives in countries with a high density of Filipinos such as North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Established in 2001, I-Remit has operations in 22 countries across North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, the Pacific Isles and the Middle East, with 346 outlets, associates and agents worldwide, and more than 2,000 pay-out stations throughout the Philippines.

In a span of six years, I-Remit said it had a compounded average annual growth rate of 53 percent in terms of revenue.

I-Remit is also a collection partner of the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth to accept payment from OFWs. It is likewise the biggest non-bank issuer of Visa debit cards in the Philippines.

Elizabeth Sanchez-Lacson

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