The first quarter of 2019 was a quiet one for the global initial public offering (IPO) market, but the deal pipeline is primed for a rebound, says a new report from Ernst & Young Global Ltd. (EY).
There were just 199 deals in the first quarter, which raised $13.1 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars). This represents a 41% decline in deal volume and a 74% drop in deal value compared with the same quarter last year, EY reports.
A number of factors weighed on the IPO market in Q1, the report notes. Geopolitical concerns and ongoing trade tensions helped stifle demand, and the U.S. government shutdown threw an administrative roadblock into the supply of U.S. deals.
In the U.S., deal volume was down by 44%, and deal value dropped 83% during the quarter.
“Market volatility caused foreign issuers to choose to postpone their listings,” the EY report says, noting that there were only four cross-border IPOs in the fourth quarter, compared with 15 deals in the same quarter last year.
“It was a quiet quarter across the Americas, partly because of the U.S. government shutdown, where the lion’s share of Americas IPO activity occurs, and partly as a result of different geopolitical uncertainties affecting other markets. However, as the dust begins to settle following a quarter of uncertainties, we expect IPO activity to return to more normal levels in Q2 2019,” said Jackie Kelley, IPO markets leader at EY Americas.
EY also reports that IPO activity was down in the Asia-Pacific region, which nevertheless led the way in the global market, accounting for 63% of the global deal volume. Still, deal volume was down by 24% in the quarter, and deal proceeds dropped by 30%.
“Ongoing trade issues between the U.S. and China continue to have an effect on IPO market sentiment across Asia-Pacific. But with exchanges across the region recovering from equity market corrections in Q4 2018, there are signs of a recovery in IPO activity ahead,” said Ringo Choi, IPO leader for EY Asia-Pacific.
“Post-IPO performance levels are another key factor to watch in determining the recovery speed of IPO activity levels in 2019,” Choi added.
In Europe, Brexit uncertainty and economic weakness continued to weigh on the region’s IPO markets. There were just 23 deals in the quarter, generating proceeds of around $400 million.
“The dense fog of ongoing geopolitical tensions, trade issues among the U.S., China and Europe, as well as uncertainty as to how the UK will leave the European Union, slowed down IPO activity in all regions. As we look to Q2 2019, we only need a successful mega IPO or unicorn from the robust IPO pipeline for the fog of uncertainty to clear and global IPO markets to spring into bloom toward the second half of 2019,” said Dr. Martin Steinbach, IPO leader for EY Global.