By Clara Denina
LONDON (Reuters) – Global share listings hit their lowest level in three years in the first half of the year, with a slowdown in Europe counteracting a stronger U.S. showing where tech giants Uber and Pinterest made their debuts.
Proceeds from global listings fell 31% to $62.8 billion (£49.6 billion) in the year to date, compared to $90.5 billion in the same period a year ago, mostly dragged down by a seven-year low in Europe, Refinitiv data shows.
Just $10.1 billion was raised from European IPOs, a 57% slide compared from a year earlier, while proceeds from U.S.-listed IPOs rose by 4.3% to $29.8 billion, as investors poured money into companies that use technology to disrupt traditional industries.
Among the most anticipated share offerings of the year were Silicon Valley’s ride hailing apps Uber Technologies <UBER.N> and Lyft Inc <LYFT.O> and image sharing website Pinterest <PINS.N>.
At $79 billion market capitalisation, Uber was the biggest of a group of tech startups that have spent years raising money in private rounds at record prices before listing.
“Investors continue to see significant fund flows into the tech sector as they consider it more resilient and less exposed to the economic cycle,” said Sam Losada, Head of EMEA Equity Capital Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
“Most recent tech IPOs show how much investor appetite there is for disruptive equity stories which play into digital transformation trends,” Losada added.
While Uber was the biggest, Beyond Meat <BYND.O>, a maker of plant-based burgers and sausages, was the most successful. Its shares climbed more than 160 percent on its May 2 market launch.
In contrast in London rail ticketing app Trainline <TRNT.L>, which went public on June 21, was the one bright spot among generally lackluster performances. Its shares are more than 6% above the IPO price of 400 pence.
Political uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union and a slowdown in the euro zone economy have created market turbulence in the first half, discouraging investment flows.
Fintech was Europe’s most prolific sector, with a series of payment processing companies, including Italian private equity-owned Nexi <NEXII.MI> and Middle Eastern-focused Network International <NETW.L> going public.
Despite an improvement in proceeds from European listings in the second quarter, recently-listed companies including Finablr <FINF.L>, Watches of Switzerland <WOSG.L> and telecoms operator Airtel Africa <AAF.L> still trade below their flotation price.
Finablr and Airtel slashed the IPO price to the bottom of their targeted range. Airtel shares fell as much as 15% in a dismal debut last Friday.
Adam Farlow, Head of EMEA Capital Markets at law firm Baker McKenzie, expects “a more conservative pricing, particularly among larger listings” in the second half of the year, as issuers become more concerned that a stock underperformance might negatively impact the valuation of companies.
“Stagnant share prices do create a vicious circle and impact future investment decisions of the buyside,” Farlow said.
(Reporting by Clara Denina; additional reporting and graphic by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Keith Weir)