European IPOs hit rock bottom

The European IPO market hit its lowest level in history during the first quarter of 2009, according to the latest survey from UK consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Volumes and values were down, with just 18 listings in the three months up to March 31, raising just €9m. The sobering statistics are a far cry from the first quarter of 2008, which saw 72 IPOs raise €1.942bn. Even compared with the last quarter of 2008, which witnessed a five year low for IPOs, saw 64 IPOs completed raising €1.238bn.

The total raised in Europe reached less than 1% of the figure recorded in Q1 2008. Only 11 of the 18 IPOs managed to raise any money. The average amount raised was less than €1m which is dwarfed by the €34m figure reached in the first quarter of 2008.

Poland took the lion’s share of the abysmal results, with two-thirds of European IPO market value being raised on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The Eastern European country hosted six IPOs that raised €6m. It also saw the largest IPO of the quarter which was Polish manufacturing company Hydrapres which raised €4m. London and Luxembourg were the only other exchanges to host IPOs with €2m and €1m respectively.

The market for new listings is no better on the other side of the Atlantic. In the US, the first quarter of 2009 saw a 92% drop in volume and a 96% in value from the same quarter of 2008. Two IPOs raised €594m, compared with 25 that raised €14.698bn.

Richard Weaver, a partner in the capital markets group at PwC, said: “These continue to be dire times for the IPO market globally. There is undoubtedly pent-up demand from companies seeking to access the IPO market but it would be a brave person who could foresee the market returning before 2010.”