Floats back in fashion as market conditions improve

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The Independent Online

Businesses across Europe will take advantage of buoyant market conditions and list their shares over the next few months, it was claimed.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountants, said a growing number of companies are likely to follow the route recently taken by Crest Nicholson, Countrywide and esure by announcing floats on stock exchanges across the Continent.

Last year, 69 per cent of money raised in initial public offerings came during the final quarter of the year – a trend that has continued into the new year.

The after-market performance of Europe's 10 largest IPOs outstripped that of the top 10 global IPOs. Ziggo and DKSH were the stand-out European performers, trading 34 per cent and 37 per cent above their IPO prices respectively.

Mark Hughes, PwC's capital markets partner, said: "With equity markets strengthening and volatility indices levelling out, the forecast for 2013 is encouraging, with a number of companies waiting in the wings to begin their floats. A number of private equity-backed groups have announced their IPO plans, reflecting the positive sentiment boosting the European exchanges. The IPO barometer is set fair and we expect to see an increase in activity."

London is expected to be at the forefront of the market recovery. Last year, 47 per cent of the cash raised in Europe was on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Hughes added: "With equity markets strengthening and volatility indices remaining stable, coupled with the positive, after-market performance of recent issues, the outlook for 2013 is encouraging."