Share Prices & Company Research

Press Release

09 March 2018

London calling?

After a quiet period, London’s initial public offering (IPO) market seemed to kick back into action as more than 100 companies made their debuts in the City during 2017 – the first time the number of listings hit triple figures in three years.

Israeli mining company Shefa Yamim became the 100th company to list in London on 18th December 2017. The first London-listed Israeli mining company was seeking to raise £5m to start mining for precious stones.
Floating at the same time was Belfast healthcare company Fusion Antibodies. Trading on the Alternative Investment Market at 82p a share, the firm has raised £5.5m to fund the expansion of its laboratory space and develop new service lines.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, London was the most active stock market for IPOs in the third quarter of 2017 with 27 IPOs – three times as many as the same period in 2016.

The spate of new issues was attributed to a degree of relative calm following the uncertainty caused by political events such as the Brexit decision and the general election result, which impacted the latter half of 2016 and the early part of 2017. Post these events, there was a backlog of deals waiting to come to the market, so the supportive market environment encouraged advisers and their clients to go ahead with their issues.

Will this continue into 2018? It already looks like it could potentially be an exciting year for listings. Bloomberg has reported Helios Towers is set to float in London in April. The Sub-Saharan telecommunications tower operator has also said it plans to float in Johannesburg.

Online betting firm SkyBet is said to be seeking to make its London debut in 2018, along with antivirus software firm Avast, which could see the firm valued at as much as US$4bn. If it goes ahead, Avast’s listing could become the largest-ever British technology IPO.

However, it looks as though Brexit negotiations may loom large. The James Bond-endorsed sports car maker Aston Martin is said to be considering whether to list in London or New York. However, Chief Executive Andy Palmer told Reuters the ongoing Brexit negotiations have added a layer of unpredictability. He said: “When you’re going through any kind of sale or IPO, what you’re looking for is market stability.”

Over on Wall Street, the unicorns and disruptors are ruling the IPO landscape in 2018. Music streaming platform Spotify has just announced it will pursue a direct listing of its shares. Cloud storage company Dropbox has also filed for an IPO. It will be the first ‘decacorn’ – a company with a valuation of US$10bn or more – to go for a public listing.

Causing excitement both in London and New York is the much-anticipated US$2tn Saudi Aramco IPO. At the time of writing, both cities, alongside Hong Kong, were frontrunners to host the international leg of the flotation, alongside a domestic listing in Riyadh. During a time of uncertainty as the UK prepares to leave the EU in March 2019, to have Saudi Aramco list in London would be a real boost to the City’s position as a leading global financial centre.

Please remember that investments and income arising from them can fall as well as rise in value and you may lose some or all the amount you have invested. This article is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation to invest in any of the investments mentioned. There is an extra risk of losing money when shares are bought in AIM-traded shares, as there can be a big difference between the buying and selling price.
 
London calling?
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