IPO Watch Europe Annual Review 2019

A challenging year for European IPOs

The European IPO markets have had a difficult year with concerns regarding continued geopolitical uncertainty

Despite some private equity and cross-border IPO activity, the European IPO markets were understandably impacted by political uncertainty

Uncertainty around the ongoing Brexit negotiations and US-China trade relations hampered European IPO markets during 2019.

As we head into 2020, progress in these matters provides a more positive backdrop to the IPO markets, although there are concerns for the markets regarding the tensions between the US and Iran.

UK IPO activity

London remained in #1 position in Europe by values and volumes, but saw overall declines from 2018 of 39% and 60%

The London Stock Exchange retained its position as Europe’s most active market in 2019 and contributed 30% of total European IPO proceeds. More specifically, London IPO proceeds were £5.9bn in 2019 down by 39% compared to 2018 where £9.6bn was raised from 68 IPOs. In total, there were 27 IPOs on the London Exchange in 2019, 60% down on the prior year.

Despite the backdrop of Brexit, London has continued to attract cross-border IPOs, such as the Middle Eastern payments business Network International; Helios Towers, the African telecom tower infrastructure company; and Africa’s largest mobile operator, Airtel Africa.

European IPO market raised €22bn in 2019, with proceeds down 40% compared to 2018

European IPO proceeds reached €22.1bn in 2019, down by 40% compared to 2018 where €36.7bn was raised from 200 IPOs. In total, there were 106 IPOs across European exchanges in 2019, 47% down on the prior year.

The top five IPOs in Europe raised €8.7bn, 39% of 2019’s proceeds. The largest of the year was Italian payment-service company Nexi SpA raising €2.1bn closely followed by TeamViewer AG, the German software company, raising €2.0bn.

European IPO activity

“IPO markets are sensitive to uncertainties and whilst there were windows of activity during the year the European IPO market has undoubtedly been impacted by US-China trade tensions and Brexit. Looking back over the year at the London market there were several successful high profile private equity IPOs, somewhat against the prevailing dual track trend. Namely the IPOs of Network International, Watches of Switzerland and Trainline which demonstrated significant investor demand with positive aftermarket performance. Critically we are now seeing progress in both US-China trade relations and the UK election result, which has given a clear steer to the markets concerning Brexit. This provides a positive backdrop to the IPO markets for 2020.”

Peter WhelanUK IPO Lead at PwC

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