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UPDATE 3-Tech unicorn Nanofilm up 12% on debut, biggest Singapore IPO in years

* Nanofilm shares surge after heavy oversubscription

* Company backed by investors including Temasek firms

* Retail segment makes up ony 2% of IPO

* Company majority-owned by professor-turned-entrepreneur (Adds quote from SGX executive in para 3, updates price)

SINGAPORE, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Shares in Nanofilm Technologies International Ltd closed 12% higher on their debut on Friday after the company raised up to S$510 million ($375 million) in the biggest initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore bourse in eight years.

The IPO is one of the few listings of a high-tech firm on the Singapore Exchange, which has become a global hub for real estate investment trusts over the past decade.

Southeast Asian IPOs have raised $7.24 billion this year, up 24% from a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

“There are issuers who feel more confident that there is institutional support for growth, even sovereign support,” Chew Sutat, global sales head at Singapore Exchange, told Reuters.

Nanofilm, which provides coating materials for smartphones and televisions, was backed by cornerstone investors, including subsidiaries of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“COVID has served to accelerate the shift from a concrete to a digital world. Nanofilm is clearly one of the beneficiaries of this thematic,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners.

The shares rose as high as S$3.02 and closed at S$2.91 from the IPO price of S$2.59. The IPO’s institutional portion received bids for about 23 times the number of shares on offer.

Nanofilm, which counts Canon and Microsoft among its customers, was founded in 1999 as a tech spin-off from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University by Shi Xu, a professor-turned-entreprenur and currently the firm’s executive chairman.

Including an overallotment portion, the IPO is raising about $375 million, with the retail segment making up only 2%. Xu controls about 55% of Nanofilm, which is valued at S$1.9 billion. It was the most actively traded stock by value in Singapore.

Citi, Credit Suisse and OCBC Bank were the IPO’s joint global coordinators and bookrunners with CLSA.

$1 = 1.3597 Singapore dollars Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Potter