European flotations have made a strong start to the year despite the current market uncertainty brought on by a possible trade war between the US and China, rising interest rates and the prospect of tougher regulation on tech firms.
Across Europe, the first quarter of the year recorded 67 initial public offerings (IPOs) raising a total of €12.5bn (£10.8bn), up from 54 and €4.6bn in the same period in 2017, according to PWC’s latest survey of flotations.
The UK lagged behind after a strong performance at the start of last year. The London Stock Exchange played host to 16 of the 67 first-quarter IPOs, raising £1.3bn. This was down from 20 flotations in the first three months of 2017, which raised £1.8bn.
Lucy Tarleton, capital markets director at PwC, said: “The first quarter is typically a quieter quarter in terms of UK IPO activity, and last year it was boosted by a backlog of IPOs after a pause in activity following the EU referendum.
“The outlook is promising and issuers continue to be attracted to the UK market with a number of crossborder IPOs set to launch in London.”
Meanwhile the total European figures for the first quarter were down on a strong fourth quarter, when 116 companies joined the market and raised more than €16bn.
Of the companies joining the UK market between January and March, nine were on the main list and seven on the junior Aim market. The five biggest companies were Energean Oil & Gas, Jersey financial group JTC, financial adviser IntegraFin, Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust and JPMorgan Multi-Asset Trust. The financial sector dominated the listings, accounting for 72% of the proceeds raised.
The best performers of the new UK arrivals were Aim-listed cyber security business GRC International, up 112% compared with the FTSE All Share index, and IntegraFin on the main market, up 33%.
The worst were Aim-listed property company Onthemarket, down 32% and mining group Cradle Arc, 31% lower. AIQ Limited, a Cayman Island incorporated company set up to make e-commerce acquisitions, had its shares suspended after they rose sharply before it had even done any business.
The biggest flotations across Europe were medical technology company Siemens Healthineers and Deutsche Bank’s asset manager DWS Group, which raised €3.7bn and €1.3bn, respectively. They both listed on Deutsche Borse, making it the top exchange by value during the period.
Mark Hughes, capital markets partner at PwC, said: “The first quarter of 2018 has seen increased volatility and significant corrections to global indices. Europe’s IPO markets have proved resilient with investors eager to find value and ready to engage in early conversations with companies with compelling equity stories and solid fundamentals.”