IPO activity all but dried up

THE level of IPO activity — basically firms looking to float on the stock exchange — has all but dried up in this part of the world, with only 50 such moves being made during the first three months of this year and most activity coming from emerging territories.

According to the latest quarterly Global IPO Update, published yesterday by Ernst & Young, only $1.4bn (e1.05bn) was raised globally by companies going public since the beginning of this year.

The New York Stock Exchange, Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange and Tokyo’s Nikkei Index were the top three international exchanges regarding IPO activity between the beginning of January and the end of last month. Two listings on the NYSE — including the flotation of consumer firm, Mead Johnson Nutrition — accounted for $829.9m (e626m), nearly 60% of the entire capital raised this year thus far.

According to Gil Forer, global director of IPO initiatives at Ernst & Young, this recent trend is just a slowdown and doesn’t mean companies are turning their back on the IPO option of raising funds: “The first quarter results show that the global financial crisis has had a deep impact on the IPO market and the timeframe for recovery will be much longer than people initially thought a year ago.”

Sinead Munnelly, transaction advisory services partner with Ernst & Young in Dublin, added: “The recovery of the IPO market will require at least two to three quarters of macro-economic stability and for confidence to be rebuilt. However, when the markets open and valuations improve, high quality companies will be poised to take advantage.”


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