| LONDON, March 31
LONDON, March 31 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
Market watchers say momentum is feeding morale.
"When the equity markets get working people start trusting
each other," said Kate Ball-Dodd, a partner at law firm Mayer
Brown who advises on M&A and IPOs. "There is an understanding
that it's OK to exit."
Goldman Sachs led the global ECM rankings by value,
with 82 deals totalling $18.6 billion, followed by Morgan
Stanley with 92 deals totalling $14.3 billion.
CHINA, USA MORE CAUTIOUS
IPO activity also jumped in Asia - the value of deals there
more than tripled to $13.1 billion in the first quarter of 2014
- but concerns about mainland China's slower economic growth
kept a lid on activity and prompted some disappointing debuts.
Two companies delayed their Hong Kong IPOs this month, while
Chinese commercial lender Harbin Bank Co Ltd is to
price near the bottom of its marketing range.
The outlook for Japan has also dimmed, with investors
shunning Tokyo stocks as attempts to reinvigorate the economy
lose momentum. The Nikkei is down 9.8 percent this year.
The $3.2 billion float of Japan Display - the
biggest global listing of the year so far - flopped, casting a
shadow over April's forthcoming $1.8 billion debut by Seibu
Investors in the United States, where both the economy and
consumer sentiment cooled at the beginning at the year, have
also proceeded with more caution.
U.S. proceeds from IPOs rose by 11 percent against the first
quarter of 2013, but the country's share of the global IPO
market shrank to 22 percent from 31 percent last year.
Last week Candy Crush maker King was the latest
tech company to launch a listing. But the games developer made a
less than majestic entry onto the New York Stock Exchange,
losing as much as 15 percent in its first day of
(Editing by Sophie Walker)