Global IPO Watch Q3 2023

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Headlines

First signs of thaw in the US and Europe, marked by a few successfully completed IPOs.

  • The US IPO market is showing promising signs with a number of notable IPOs pricing this quarter.
  • The European IPO market also saw several IPOs this quarter in Germany, France, Romania and the UK.

Mainland China has continued to lead the global IPO market with the highest IPO proceeds this quarter.

  • IPO activity in China in Q3 was largely attributable to the STAR market that provides access to public funding for home-grown technology companies.
  • Despite being the leading market this quarter, the effect of the slowdown in the Chinese economy has led to a decline in IPO proceeds by more than 50% in Q3 2023 ($12bn) compared to Q3 2022 ($25bn).

Developments in the macroeconomic environment continue to shape the performance of the global equity markets.

  • The direction of travel of interest rates and inflation continue to drive equity markets. Despite the general market expectation that by the end of this quarter, central banks would be ending their respective interest rate hike campaigns, there is still uncertainty whether another interest rate hike will be required to control inflation amid labour market shortages and disruptions in the global supply chain.
  • Major global equity indices continue to trade in positive territory this year as central banks are aiming for the soft landing of the US and Eurozone economies.

Technology remained the dominant sector for IPO issuance globally, with the renewable energy sector also gaining momentum.

  • South Korea raised almost 70% of its IPO proceeds from semiconductor and technology companies. The US and Japanese stock exchanges have also seen a buzz around AI technology companies this quarter. The emergence of AI focused companies will give a further boost to tech sector IPOs.
  • Some of the largest IPOs in Europe, including Romania, Germany, France and Turkey, were from the renewable energy sector.

The functioning secondary market in Europe points to investable cash being available for quality issuers.

  • The secondary issuance market showed resilience during this quarter in most developed economies, with robust volumes and relatively tight discounts signaling continued investor appetite for quality names, which is also a good precursor to a recovery of the IPO market.
  • The London Stock Exchange was the leading exchange for follow-on issuance in Europe in Q3 in terms of the number of transactions and proceeds raised.

Middle East IPO markets remained active this quarter, with a growing IPO pipeline for next year.

  • Privatisation initiatives in the region and ongoing reforms to ease restrictions on foreign companies to dual list their securities on the Saudi Stock Exchange have contributed to a strong IPO pipeline in the Middle East, while also attracting foreign capital.

Macroeconomic and equity markets overview in Q3 2023

The major global indices have reflected mixed performance in the year to date, with the S&P 500 outperforming the FTSE 100, Stoxx Europe 600 and Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite. However, this was largely due to the strong performance of a small number of artificial intelligence (AI) related equities. In the third quarter, however, only the FTSE 100 ended in positive territory due to rising oil prices, with other major indices declining during the quarter on renewed inflation concerns.

Volatility has continued to trend around normalised levels in Q3, supporting stronger liquidity in the secondary markets. Follow-on issuances gained momentum with several significant €1bn+ offerings pricing in Europe and the London Stock Exchange being the most active market by the number of transactions and proceeds raised.

Interest rates in the US, UK and Eurozone show some signs of having reached their peak, as inflation is beginning to fall across most major economies with economic performance starting to cool. Higher rates and economic uncertainty have resulted in record inflows into money market funds in the US in 2023.

Continued investor and market uncertainty has been reflected in the response to what would typically be viewed as good news, such as falling unemployment, being seen as raising the risk of further interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Investor concerns around the prospect of rates remaining elevated for longer within the US, UK and Eurozone has also been reflected in equity market performance.

Concerns have been growing regarding the strength of the Chinese economy, where consumer prices fell into negative territory for the first time in 2 years in July, before rebounding into positive territory again in August. This economic uncertainty in China has negatively affected the performance of the Chinese stock markets as reflected in the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite.

The low level of inflation in China, however, did not (and is not expected to) lead to significant reductions in inflation in advanced economies due to the many other costs incurred after products are exported that are reflected in consumer product prices.

Index chart

Source: Capital IQ with PwC analysis

Equity issuance update for Q3 2023

US equity issuance showed the first signs of life, after a prolonged period of muted IPO activity, reassuring the market about the prospects of the US equity market. In Europe, a number of companies from a renewable energy sector also priced their IPOs this quarter in Germany, Romania, France and Turkey.

Mainland China’s 2023 YTD IPO proceeds were reduced by 25% to $43bn, compared to IPO proceeds of the respective period in 2022 ($57bn), reflecting the slowdown of the Chinese economy. India has so far demonstrated consistent growth this year across the primary and secondary public equity markets.

While the IPO market is slowly recovering in the US and Europe, the secondary issuance market kept its momentum in the third quarter. Overall, FO issuance so far this year has been ahead of the FO proceeds in the respective quarters of the previous year.

Outlook

While uncertainties over the macroeconomic environment and geopolitics across regions continue to impact equity market sentiment, some stability in equity markets and signs of interest rates peaking are paving the way for the reopening of IPO markets in the US, followed by Europe. However, as central banks continue to fine-tune the economic slowdown, which will help stabilise economic growth and moderate inflation, further interest rate hikes can not be ruled out.

Pricing of recent IPOs points to the fact that private equity valuations may require adjustment to align with pricing in the public equity market. A solid equity story, supported by a more established business model, financial track record and strong marketing programme, combined with a price range balanced to achieve investor demand, were key to the success of recent IPOs. Going forward, investors will continue to look for a balance between growth and profitability at a reasonable price.

Looking ahead, IPO market activity will be heavily dependent on the stability of the macroeconomic environment as well as a positive track record of recent post-IPO performance. Continued stabilisation of economic circumstances will support an increased optimism of renewed IPO markets through 2024. However, with the remaining uncertainties, this is more likely to be measured and perhaps weighted more towards later in 2024.

Contact us

Stuart  Newman

Stuart Newman

Global IPO Centre Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7711 799611

Michael Wisson

Michael Wisson

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7817 671094

Kat Kravtsov

Kat Kravtsov

Director, UK Capital Markets, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7710 036613

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