London retakes IPO crown

London Stock Exchange climbs back to top the rankings of amount raised through floats in Q1

London was Europe’s most active exchange for initial public offerings in the first quarter — accounting for almost half the total raised in the region — despite the uncertainty caused by the UK formally starting the Brexit process.

Twenty IPOs on the London Stock Exchange raised a total of €2.1 billion during the first three months of the year, according to PwC’s latest IPO Watch — the same amount raised in the first quarter of 2016. That compared with a Europe-wide total of 53 floats that raised €4.5 billion – 28% higher than the total a year ago.

However, it was Spain’s Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles that hosted the two largest IPOs of the first quarter: Prosegur’s €750 million float of its cash management unit, and property developer Neinor Homes’ €709 million stock market debut. The largest London IPO was the €705 million float of BioPharma Credit, a closed-end fund focused on life sciences.

The figures mark a return to the top for the UK exchange, which was in pole position by amount raised in first quarter of 2016, before slipping in the following three quarters: behind Nasdaq Nordic and BME in the second quarter; fourth in the third quarter; and second to Germany’s Deutsche Börse in the final three months.

Mark Hughes, capital markets partner at PwC, said the UK can hold onto its top position as it negotiates Brexit terms: “Q1 2017 numbers combined with a strong medium term pipeline of both domestic and foreign issuers, suggest that London is well placed to continue as Europe’s premier exchange,” he said.

“Issuers will continue to be attracted to London by the liquidity of the financial markets, the depth and breadth of the investor base and the regulatory and business framework.”

By Clare Dickinson