Annual report tracking the volume and value of IPOs on Europe's main stock exchanges.

IPO Watch Europe Annual Review 2023


Total European IPO issuance fell by more than a third in 2023, but cautious optimism exists for the year ahead. However, IPO windows are expected to be tight.

Equity market performance and volatility

Equity markets in the US and Europe have defied expectations for 2023 delivering strong performance, despite a backdrop of recessionary concerns, geopolitical uncertainty, stubborn inflation and rising interest rates impacting investor sentiment. Notably, the strong performance of the equity indices was mainly driven by a handful of large technology stocks. In the US, these stocks are known as the "magnificent seven" and delivered on average over 110% return for 2023. Momentum for tech stocks also came to Europe with Technology being one of Europe’s top performing sectors (returning 32% in the year), together with Retail (up 34%) and Construction & Materials (up 31%). In contrast to 2022, natural resource related sectors had the weakest performance in 2023 with the Stoxx 600 Basic Resources sector index down 6% and the Energy sector index marginally up 3%. Reflecting the shift in sector performance, the FTSE 100 was only up 4% for the year, due to the softening in the commodity prices and a lack of big tech stocks. The UK economy is, however, expected to turn a page from the difficult post pandemic years as normalising inflation and progress on growth and real income provide optimism.

Historical performance of major market indices since January 2023

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence LLC, as of 31 December 2023.

European IPO and follow-on trends and outlook

For the second year in a row, the European IPO market remained quiet with IPO proceeds raised in 2023 falling to €10.2bn, a drop of 35% compared to 2022 and the lowest level in over 10 years since 2012 (€8.7bn). Persistent global macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty throughout the year has negatively impacted investor confidence and contributed to a soft IPO market. Stronger than expected equity markets and reduced volatility have, however, supported the follow-on equity issuance, which showed resilience during 2023, with proceeds increasing by €6.4bn (8.7%). The UK has been the most active market for secondary issuance this year in Europe, raising a total of €20.3bn and contributing 25% of total proceeds.

As we head into 2024, there is renewed optimism for the European IPO market recovery later in the year supported by the growth in the equity indices, reduced volatility and stabilisation of the macroeconomic environment. However, this optimism could be tempered by ongoing geopolitical uncertainties and, with upcoming elections in 2024 for a significant proportion of the world’s population, IPO windows are expected to be tight.

Quarterly European IPO activity (2019 to 2023)

Source: Dealogic as of 31 December 2023.

Contact us

Richard Spilsbury

Richard Spilsbury

Partner, UK Capital Markets, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7703 503562

Kat Kravtsov

Kat Kravtsov

Director, UK Capital Markets, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7710 036613

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