Global IPOs on the up but rocky road ahead

BY Richard Summerfield

For the global IPO industry, the first quarter of 2016 was disappointing period, recording the weakest activity since the first quarter of 2009, according to EY's Global IPO Trends 2016 report. Although the second quarter of the year saw the IPO space enjoy a marked recovery, at the mid-year point activity remains significantly below the first half of 2015.

The second quarter of 2016 saw a 120 percent jump in capital raised, climbing to $29.6bn from 246 deals – up almost 29 percent on the first three months of the year. US capital raised was up 755 percent, Asia-Pacific was up 20 percent, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw an uptick of 187 percent. The UK and Greater China were the only major IPO destinations that failed to see an increase in capital raised. The most significant gains were made by Australia and New Zealand, which saw proceeds increase by 820 percent.

The report suggests that though things improved significantly in the second quarter, there is more to be done if 2016 is to match IPO activity seen in recent years. Worryingly, the market will remain at the mercy of a febrile global economy which looks set to remain in a period of uncertainty.

Given this  economic and political volatility, the IPO industry will experience an uncertain second half of the year. Speaking of the report, Jackie Kelley, EY Americas IPO leader, said: "Despite the substantial uplift in global IPO activity in the second quarter, there are still a large number of IPO-ready companies sheltering from continued volatility and waiting for much needed clarity on the global economic and political landscape. In the meantime, activity is slow but improving."

If the outlook improves, a number of IPO-ready companies are waiting to enter the market. However, concerns surrounding the UK’s EU referendum result, the impending US presidential election and persistent worries about the direction of interest rates are all likely to impact on IPO activity moving forward. There is, however, an impressive pipeline of technology IPOs developing in the US, which may encourage activity after the November election.

Report: EY Global IPO Trends 2016 2Q

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