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Mesdaq debuts, first stock fetches 19% premium
By Julian Matthews
Friday, April 30 1999

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's new high-tech stock exchange, the Malaysian Exchange of Securities Dealing and Automated Quotation (Mesdaq), began trading today on its sole counter Supercomal Technologies Bhd (STB).

STB made an impressive debut closing at 3.82 ringgit, a premium of 62 sen over its initial public offering price of 3.20 ringgit per share. It rose to a high of 4.30 ringgit. The company sold 3.05 million new shares, raising 9.76 million ringgit (US$2.6 million).

"We are pleased that the start of trading went well and the Mesdaq Quotation System performed smoothly," Mesdaq executive chairman Khairil Anuar Abdullah said in statement issued late today.

STB chose to offer its 3.05 million ordinary shares through private placement, rather than the usual public balloting.

Meanwhile, Hwang-DBS Securities senior vice president Jerry Chin, an advisor for Supercomal's listing, said the strong showing augurs well for the exchange.

Chin downplayed observations that cable and wire-maker STB was not representative of a high-tech company.

"I think there are few truly high-tech companies in Malaysia. Ultimately, it's the investor who decides whether the company has strong prospects," he said.

Chin was optimistic that interest will pick up once the exchange has a critical mass of companies of between 10 or 20 companies.

Earlier today, STB made a statement that it was planning to invest over 5 million ringgit (about US$1.3 million) to produce CAT 5 data communication cables in the fourth quarter of this year.

Cat 5 cables are able to transmit and deliver greater amounts of data at higher speeds compared to the traditional copper-based cables and demand for these cables are growing rapidly.

At the launch, Khairil said Mesdaq was in talks with several companies seeking dual listing on its exchange and the US' Nasdaq.

He did not disclose the names of these companies but one likely candidate is Ltd, a local Java-based software developer which hopes to list on Nasdaq by year-end.

Five companies are expected to be listed on Mesdaq this year.

The new exchange, targeted at technology and high-growth potential companies is an integral component of the Multimedia Super Corridor project which is aimed at developing Malaysia into a global multimedia hub.

Mesdaq-listed companies are exempt from the capital control measures imposed by the authorities since last September.

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