IPO Watch Europe Annual Review 2018

A challenging year for European IPOs

The European IPO markets have seen a difficult end to 2018 with concerns regarding the global macro picture, Trump, Brexit and continued geopolitical uncertainty. Despite this, we are still seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for IPOs in 2019.

"Pause button" hit in the near term in European IPO markets but healthy number of companies preparing for IPOs later in 2019

High market volatility, uncertainty around ongoing Brexit negotiations and a potential trade war between the US and China hampered the European IPO markets during 2018. The ‘pause’ button will be hit for IPO issuance in the near term, particularly in the UK with the shadow of Brexit. Despite this, we are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for IPOs later in 2019.


60% of European IPO values in 2018 raised on top two exchanges: London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse

The London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse were effectively equivalent by value at €10.8bn and €10.7bn respectively, but London remained Europe’s most active market with 82 IPOs compared to 17 on the Deutsche Börse. London has continued to demonstrate its role as a destination of choice for cross-border IPOs, with companies such as Avast plc from the Czech Republic, Slovenia-based Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Africa-focused Vivo Energy and Kazakh group, Kazatomprom, all listing this year.

The value of European IPOs in 2018 amounted to €36.6bn, a decrease of 19% compared to 2017, with IPO volumes down by 13%

Many European exchanges experienced subdued activity during 2018, in particular the fall in activity is starkest on the BME, Borsa Italiana and Euronext exchanges where values have decreased by 77%, 64% and 52% respectively. The financial sector is the largest sector accounting for 33% of values at €12.1bn in 2018 and looks to be a key driver of activity in 2019.

“Activity has been subdued across European exchanges for much of 2018, due to high market volatility and a significant correction to global indices in the first half of the year. Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run. We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”

Peter Whelan, Partner, UK IPO Lead at PwC

Contact us

Peter Whelan

Partner, UK IPO Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7770 977 937

Lucy Tarleton

Director​, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7701 295718

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