SINGAPORE (Jan 29): Last year, the third-best-performing IPO stock was coffee shop operator Kimly. The company, which gained 42.9% following its listing in March last year, beat healthcare play Aoxin Q & M Dental Group (up 5%), enrichment class provider MindChamps Preschool (down 5.4%) and Chinese mall owner Dasin Retail Trust (up 14%). Kimly now has a market capitalisation of $434.2 million, which makes it larger than seafood restaurant chain JUMBO Group (with a market cap of $388.1 million) and almost as large as bakery operator BreadTalk Group ($486.9 million).

But if you thought that buying into an F&B play with an easy-to-understand business model would be a sure-win, you would be wrong. The third-worst-performing IPO stock last year was restaurateur No Signboard Holdings, which, like JUMBO, also runs a chain of seafood restaurants. Shares in No Signboard ended the year down 8.9%.

The disparity between the performance of Kimly and that of No Signboard mirrors the differences in the performances of F&B stocks listed here. In recent years, the sector has grown substantially and now consists of 16 companies with a total market cap of $1.95 billion. But despite the increase in the number of peers, the sector remains a difficult one for analysts to cover because it is so diverse. Just six of the 16 companies have dedicated analyst coverage.

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