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European IPOs reach levels last recorded in 2007

Close to €50 billion has been raised on European equity markets this year, easily surpassing the combined total secured in the whole of 2012 and 2013, according to figures compiled by PwC.

In October and November, 55 companies raised €8.5 billion on markets, as against €6.6 billion for the third quarter.

For the year to date, a total of €48.8 billion has been raised, compared to €37.8 billion for combined 2012 and 2013, PwC’s IPO Watch analysis shows.

London has retained its position as the most active European market, representing 39 per cent of the overall activity so far this year. However, it did not feature a top five IPO this quarter and has hosted just three of the top 10 IPOs in 2014.

PWC said the final three months of 2014 has been punctuated with a string of pulled or postponed IPOs, following poor performance of some newly-listed companies and a spike in volatility at the end of the third quarter. It said the pipeline heading into 2015 looked solid although not as robust as the first half of 2014.

“The 2014 IPO market has been a year of two halves across Europe. The start of the year was red hot with a flurry of activity. However, the second half has been overshadowed by investor caution spurred by increased market volatility, which has been the result of geopolitical instability in Ukraine and the Middle East and uncertainty surrounding economic growth in both China and Europe,” said Denis O’Connor, transaction services partner at PwC Ireland.

“Possibly as a reaction to uncertain and slightly jittery markets, we have seen an increase in management and shareholders actively pursuing a dual track process – a sale and a float being run concurrently. Although this dual track approach can put additional strain on management in what is already a pressured period, this affords shareholders optionality to maximise value on exit,” he added.

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