UK IPOs slow to a trickle as volatility bites, but SPACs cushion the blow
Analysis from KPMG’s UK Equity Capital Markets half-year update has confirmed that activity in the first half of 2022 reduced significantly.
Analysis from KPMG’s UK Equity Capital Markets half-year update
After a bumper year for UK IPOs in 2021, analysis from KPMG’s UK Equity Capital Markets half-year update has confirmed that activity in the first half of 2022 reduced significantly, both in the UK and globally.
A total of 11 companies listed in London in H1 2022, raising £0.5 billion, representing a 95 percent decrease when compared to 40 listings raising £9.9 billion in H1 2021.
Listing activity on London’s Main Market was subdued in the first half of the 2022, however, activity was led by the listing of three SPACs following the relaxation in SPAC rules implemented last August. Elsewhere, activity levels on AIM also decreased, with seven IPOS in H1 2022, down from 20 in H1 2021.
Linda Main, Head of UK Capital Markets Advisory Group at KPMG UK, said: “With a cocktail of global economic threats, from record levels of inflation and rising interest rates to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, market volatility has led to a partial withdrawal of investors from equity markets. This added to existing underlying concerns from investors about equity valuations, following the poor aftermarket performance of some IPOs in 2021.
“However, while UK IPOs slowed to a trickle during the first half of the year, the market did not close completely, as the listing of three SPACs provided a silver lining. It’s likely that overall market activity will remain muted for the remainder of the year, and this seems to be more of a pause in anticipation of a market recovery than a hard stop, as there are a significant number of companies working towards an IPO in 2023 and beyond.”
Further Issue fund raises also experienced a reduction year on year in H1 2022, down 48 percent from £15.5 billion in H1 2021 to £8.1 billion in H1 2022, however they were buoyed by the ability of close end funds and REITs to successfully raise equity.
“Given that 2020 was a record year for funds raised through Further Issues and 2021 saw a partial return to normality with a slight decline, the reduction experienced in H1 2022 is generally reflective of the pivot investors have made away from riskier bets towards companies which are considered safer haven assets. So those companies with trusted management teams who have delivered previously and continue to acquire de-risked assets are more likely to be attractive to investors.”
Dampened IPO activity, however, was not exclusive to the UK market, as prevailing macro headwinds also impacted US IPO levels, which were down 91 percent year on year when compared to H1 2021, and European IPO levels (excluding the UK) were down 88 percent.
Aadam Brown, Head of Independent Equity Capital Markets Advisory at KPMG UK, commented: “While IPO activity saw a sluggish start to the year, investors are still active, albeit more selective of the companies they see - there’s a preference for counter-cyclical businesses with higher visibility of forward earnings. There’s also a natural scepticism of current company forecasting that will be playing in the minds of investors when looking at forward projections, especially if they seem too optimistic given current market sentiment.
“IPO activity is closely correlated to the level of volatility, so it’s no surprise that the UK IPO market shut in the first half of the year after the burst of activity seen in 2021. But if history is anything to go by, typically when the IPO window re-opens – coinciding with drops in market volatility – it does so quickly, with an abundance of companies who have spent months preparing to list and vying for investor attention. So, 2023 may now be when the majority of IPO candidates will consider and prepare for, and when the window of opportunity opens, it may well be a busy period.”
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- UK, US and European IPO and Follow-On data is from Dealogic
- The data was extracted from Dealogic for both “IPOs” and “Follow-Ons” and based on the field "Exchange Nationality"
- The time periods are on a calendarised basis i.e. the period 1-Jan to 30-June is denoted “H1” or “Half-year”
- IPO funds raised are based on total funds raised i.e. including the selling of new shares ("Primary Shares") and existing shares sold as part of the transaction ("Secondary Shares")
- Transactions where the funds raised were less than £5million have been excluded
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