Global IPO Outlook Remains Robust After Promising Q1 2018 Results
Despite geopolitical uncertainties and market volatility, global IPO activity in the first three months of 2018 posted strong results to start the year. Global IPO markets raised USD42.8 billion in Q1 2018, a 28 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase on Q1 2017.
However, with 287 listings this quarter, volume was down 27 percent YOY compared with Q1 2017, when it produced the highest number of listings for first quarter IPOs since 2007. These and other findings were published in the EY quarterly report, “Global IPO Trends: Q1 2018.” EY is YPO’s Strategic Learning Advisor.
Martin Steinbach, Ph.D., EY Global and EMEIA IPO Leader, says, “Global growth in IPO proceeds outpaced deal numbers in a relatively strong first quarter. Driven by larger transactions, global IPO activity started out with a strong increase in proceeds in what is traditionally the slowest quarter of the year, despite a decline in deal numbers. However, market volatility in February did slightly dampen investor confidence, slowing momentum gained from calendar year 2017, the highest performing 12-month period since 2007. Looking ahead, the outlook remains positive in many markets around the world and we expect to continue to see IPOs from a range of sources including large tech, high growth, cross-border listings, carve-outs and state-owned enterprises.”
Americas begins 2018 with increased U.S. IPO activity
Americas IPO activity started out on a high in the only region up over Q1 2017 in terms of proceeds and number of deals. There were 44 IPOs in the Americas in Q1 2018 raising USD15.4 billion, an increase of 29 percent in terms of volume and 22 percent by proceeds compared to Q1 last year.
U.S. IPO activity accounted for 36 IPOs raising USD12.8 billion, up 44 percent in terms of volume and 17 percent by proceeds compared with Q1 2017. Additionally, five of the top 10 global deals were featured in the United States. Three of the top 10 deals on U.S. exchanges were also cross-border. In total, U.S. exchanges accounted for 41 percent of all global cross-border activity in Q1 2018 compared to 35 percent in Q1 2017.
Jackie Kelley, EY Americas IPO Markets Leader, says, “The first quarter of 2018 built strong momentum for the US IPO markets. Both the volume of deals and capital raised are significantly up from recent years, in large part due to strong performances to start the year in January. Positive IPO performance to date provides a strong backdrop for continued issuance, though potential uncertainty surrounding mid-term elections could present risk in the second half of the year.”
Asia-Pacific expects to rebound after a slow start in Q1
Asia-Pacific markets saw a decline in deal activity in Q1 2018 with 157 IPOs — a 39 percent drop when compared with Q1 2017, and the lowest quarterly total since Q2 2016. Total proceeds this quarter stood at USD11.4 billion, down 26 percent compared to Q1 2017 and the lowest level since Q1 2016. However, despite the drop in IPO activity, Asia-Pacific remained the world’s busiest region for new listings in Q1 2018.
Ringo Choi, EY Asia-Pacific IPO Leader, says, “IPO activity in Asia-Pacific this quarter was defined by the slower pace of Mainland China IPOs due to greater regulatory scrutiny and a slowdown in many markets within the region. Swimming against the regional tide, the Hong Kong Exchange saw an increase in deals that made it the busiest exchange in the world. Looking ahead, we expect a bounce-back in IPO proceeds in the next few quarters, driven by the listing of mega IPOs in Hong Kong, Japan and the ASEAN region.”
EMEIA benefits from European mega deals and strong performances in India
EMEIA markets raised USD16.0 billion in Q1 2018 with 86 deals, placing the region second to Asia-Pacific in terms of deal numbers. Proceeds rose by 191 percent on the back of mega deals. The area saw two of the top three IPOs and 5 of the top 20 IPOs in Q1 2018. Of this activity, Europe accounted for 39 IPOs raising USD14.7 billion, of which six IPOs alone raised USD9.8 billion.
Emerging markets contributed strongly to overall IPO performance, with India’s Bombay and National exchanges recording a 14 percent increase in proceeds raised compared to Q1 2017 and a slight increase (5 percent) in terms of deal numbers (39 IPOs). The Middle East saw a 17 percent increase in IPO proceeds with former state-owned enterprises and family-owned and PE-backed businesses expected to drive IPO activity in the coming months.
Steinbach says, “EMEIA enjoyed a strong first quarter with a slew of European megadeals towards the second half of March pushing capital raised to the highest level for the first quarter since Q1 2015. We expect these deals will act as ice-breakers, preparing the way for a buoyant second quarter. With Indian markets performing well and the pipeline in the Middle East delivering a steady deal flow, prospects for the first half in EMEIA are positive.”
2018 outlook is upbeat, despite mixed signals
The outlook for 2018 looks to be promising driven by strong equity markets and sound corporate earnings. Despite expected interest rate hikes also later this year and uncertainty around potential trade policies, steady investor confidence is encouraging a healthy pipeline across sectors and markets this year.