- Global issue volume in the first quarter of 2021 more than tripled, number of IPOs increased by 68 percent
- Strong growth in Europe – all regions of the world see a significant increase
- Swiss company lists on the NASDAQ
Despite the ongoing pandemic and in some cases significantly negative economic effects, the global IPO market was in excellent shape in the first quarter 2021: A total of 391 companies around the world took the plunge and went public in the traditionally less active first quarter – 68 percent more than in the same period of the previous year. The issue volume in fact climbed 223 percent to USD 91.8 billion.
The current IPO barometer of auditing and consulting firm EY shows that the strongest growth was in Europe: Compared to the same period of the previous year, the number of IPOs increased by 240 percent from 20 to 68, and the issue volume in fact increased by a factor of 17, from USD 1.2 billion to USD 20.1 billion. IPO activity also developed very dynamically in the US: While the number of IPOs on US stock exchanges more than tripled from 24 to 82, the issue volume achieved in the process climbed from USD 7.2 billion to USD 37.0 billion.
On the other hand, the highest number of IPOs was once again in China (including Hong Kong): 134 companies there went public – 52 percent more than in the previous year. The issue volume rose by 73 percent to USD 22.7 billion, which is slightly higher than the volume achieved in Europe. The largest IPO of the year to date took place in Hong Kong: Short video platform Kuaishou Technology raised USD 6.2 billion there in February.
Digital companies and health care companies are in demand
One in four IPOs worldwide was accounted for by a technology provider. At USD 37.4 billion, tech companies in fact represented 41 percent of the global emission volume. The second strongest segment was the health care sector, which accounted for 17 percent of the number of transactions worldwide and 13 percent of the issue volume.
Tobias Meyer, Head of Transaction Accounting and IPO Services at EY Switzerland, notes: “The tech hype and the health care sector are currently the most important drivers of global IPO activity. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a veritable digitalization push and let digital business models come even more to the fore, especially in the health care sector. Technology companies around the globe are now benefiting from this – their growth stories strike a chord with investors.”
No IPO activity in Switzerland yet
In the first quarter 2021, there were not any IPOs in Switzerland. Instead, the Swiss pharma company NLS Pharmaceutics, with registered office in Stans in the canton of Nidwalden, listed on the US NASDAQ technology exchange at the end of January. However, Tobias Meyer from EY continues to expect there to be Swiss IPOs this year, particularly of technology and health care companies and companies in the renewable energy sector (electric vehicles, energy, clean tech). The first listing of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) on the Swiss stock exchange is also expected. This alternative way of going public, which separates the date when capital is raised from the date of admission to listing on the stock market, recently increased in importance worldwide.
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