Philippines' DFNN Readies IPO, Plans Net Kiosks

How much is Diversified Financial Network Inc. (DFNN) actually worth? That is the question that will be answered as the company heads into its initial public offering (IPO), after obtaining clearances last week from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

DFNN hopes to generate at least 144 million pesos (US$3.1 million) from the IPO, which is scheduled later this month.

The company had announced that it was going public as early as last year, but the move has been delayed because of slow government processing, said Ramon Garcia, president and chief executive officer of DFNN.

"The government process for listing is too linear. You can't move on to the next agency until you're finished with the other agency. For a startup, it's murder," he complained.

The company is offering 25.1 percent of its shares, or 14.905 million shares, at the offer range of 10 pesos to 20 pesos per share. Company was expected to determine the exact price Friday last week.

Garcia said the IPO will give DFNN two currencies -- stock as well as cash. "We can use the stock to acquire other companies and if we perform better than our expectations, our stocks go up," he said.

NETWORK OF KIOSKS

After the public offering, DFNN plans to put up a nationwide network of Internet-enabled kiosks. These kiosks are not intended to allow people to browse the Web, but to give people all over the country access to financial applications, said Garcia.

Dickson Co, DFNN's chief financial officer, said the company has allocated at least 52 million pesos for the funding of the kiosk network. In three years, the company hopes to put up 200 of these kiosks, which will be located in branches of the Lhuillier chain of pawnshops nationwide. The overall goal is equip all of the 700 branches of the Lhuillier shops with the financial kiosk, said Co.

REGIONAL PLANS

DFNN has also earmarked 29 million pesos to finance the company's expansion throughout Southeast Asia. The company already has an office in Singapore, which seeks to establish regional alliances and serve the company's foreign clients. The company is looking into joint ventures in Thailand, Indonesia and India.

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