Europe leads the way as global market listings leap

Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:00am EDT
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By Freya Berry

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Global initial public offerings (IPOs) almost doubled in value in the first quarter of 2014, Thomson Reuters data showed on Monday, with Europe leading the way thanks to a nascent economic recovery that lifted investors' confidence and stock markets.

The value of all global IPOs hit $44.3 billion in the first three months of this year, the best first quarter since 2011, and the value of European IPOs soared 191 percent to hit $15.2 billion - the highest since 2000.

"There have been some fantastic deals," said Martin Thorneycroft, head of syndicate at Morgan Stanley. "Coming into this year the pipeline was busy and it's continued to build as investor demand remains robust."

The pan-European FTSEuroFirst 300 Index rose 16 percent last year and has gained 1.2 percent so far in 2014, an attractive environment for the many firms that have waited out the recent recession to list. Senior bankers said the IPO activity was well spread across Europe, including the regions most affected by the financial crisis.

"On a pan-European basis we are seeing flows into southern Europe, starting from Spain but also Portugal, Italy and Greece. It's across sectors," said Klaus Hessberger, co-head of EMEA equity capital markets (ECM) at JP Morgan.

Spain in particular has seen a rise in confidence.

The flotations of real estate investment trusts Grupo Lar and Hispania demonstrated a turnaround in sentiment for a sector that lay at the heart of the country's debt crisis - Hispania attracted investment from fund superstars George Soros and John Paulson.

The IPO of travel company eDreams Odigeo in April will be Spain's first corporate listing since Bankia in 2011.   Continued...