Press release

30 Jun 2020 Singapore, SG

COVID-19 pandemic slows global IPO activity YTD 2020

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Sophia Mah

Media Relations Lead (Assurance, Tax, Strategy and Transactions, Growth Markets), Ernst & Young Solutions LLP

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  • The impact of COVID-19 pandemic drove YTD deals and proceeds down year-on-year
  • Asia-Pacific IPO activity remains stable; however, Asean IPO activity significantly declined
  • A notable rebound of IPO activity is expected in 2H 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to play a significant role in declining IPO activity in the first half of 2020. Overall, Q2 2020 saw a decline in IPO activity from Q2 2019 across all regions by deal numbers and for the Americas and EMEIA by proceeds. Global IPO activity slowed dramatically in April and May, with a 48% decrease by volume (97 deals) and a 67% decrease in proceeds (US$13.2b) compared to April and May 2019. This dragged down 1H 2020 regional activities compared with 1H 2019 and overall YTD deal volume (419 deals) and proceeds (US$69.5b) decreased 19% and 8%, respectively, from YTD 2019.

Despite a late flurry of deals in June, global IPO activity was sluggish on Americas and EMEIA stock exchanges YTD, while Asia-Pacific IPO activity increased. Americas deal volume (81 deals) and proceeds (US$24.5b) both fell by 30% compared with YTD 2019, while EMEIA IPO deal volume (68 deals) and proceeds (US$10.1b) fell 50% and 44%, respectively. Asia-Pacific IPO activity rose 2% by deal numbers (270 deals) and rose 56% by proceeds (US$34.9b) compared with YTD 2019. The technology, industrials and health care sectors dominated in YTD 2020. Technology saw 87 IPOs raise US$17.2b, industrials saw 83 IPOs raise US$9.6b and health care had 76 IPOs that raised US$15.9b. These and other findings were published today in the EY quarterly report, Global IPO trends: Q2 2020.

Paul Go, EY Global IPO Leader, says:

“Although IPO activity declined in April and May 2020 because of the economy lockdown in most markets, we began to see a strong rebound in June. Well-prepared companies, in the right sectors and business models, can successfully adjust during the pandemic, and will find the right window of opportunity amid turbulent capital markets for the rest of 2020.”

Asia-Pacific IPO activity remains stable

Although year-on-year YTD 2020 IPO activity in Asia-Pacific rose by deal number (2%) and proceeds (56%), Q2 2020 saw a decline of 18% compared with Q2 2019 by deal number, while proceeds rose by 28%. Asia-Pacific exchanges accounted for four of the top five exchanges by deal volume and three of the top exchanges by proceeds. Globally, by proceeds, NASDAQ led YTD 2020, followed by the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. By deal volume, Shanghai, Hong Kong and NASDAQ markets led the way.

In Greater China, IPO activity was up 29% by volume (179 deals) and 72% by proceeds (US$30.9b) YTD 2020 compared with YTD 2019. In Japan, IPO volume (34 deals) declined 17% YTD 2020, while proceeds (US$625m) dropped by 53%. Australia and New Zealand IPO activity was also down YTD – 41% by volume and 82% by proceeds.

In Asean, year-on-year YTD IPO volume dipped 12% but saw a rise in proceeds by 72% on the back of a strong Q1 2020, which also saw the largest IPO in Thailand’s history. There was a total 11 IPOs across Asean in 2Q 2020. With 9 IPOs raising a total of US$56m, Indonesia Stock Exchange was among the top 12 exchanges globally in deal volume. Other listings in Asean in the same quarter include one IPO on Philippines Stock Exchange, which raised US$31m, as well as one IPO on Cambodia Stock Exchange, which raised US$87m.

Max Loh, EY Asean IPO Leader, says:

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, Asean IPO activity has significantly declined across the various markets. Companies continue to want to tap the capital markets for funding and growth while there is ample liquidity searching for yield and investment opportunities in quality companies. However, with the global economic challenges, IPO sentiment is expected to remain fairly tepid in the short term. With so much uncertainty and volatility, companies are evaluating the impact on their businesses and how they can de-risk their IPO plans and timing. Taking into account that Q3 is typically a slower time of the year, it does look like there may only be more robust IPO activity in late 2020 and 2021, as the market attempts a reset and the pipeline looks for IPO windows.”

Americas deal landscape slows

US exchanges still accounted for the majority of IPOs in the Americas in the first half of 2020, with 79% by deal volume (64 deals) and 91% by proceeds (US$22.3b); this included five unicorn IPOs. The health care and technology sectors continued to have the highest level of IPO activity in the US in YTD 2020, representing 55% and 25% by deal volume, respectively. The health care sector dominated in proceeds (US$10.2b), contributing 46%, from 35 IPOs.

The Mexican stock exchange posted one IPO valued at US$1.1b, making it the eighth-largest IPO globally in Q2 2020.

Jackie Kelley, EY Americas IPO Leader, says:

“With stock prices rebounding and market sentiment improving, we are seeing signs of recovery in the IPO market. Over a third of the IPOs in the first half of 2020 occurred in June. IPO pipeline continues to build as issuers look to go public in the second half of 2020 or early 2021.”

EMEIA also sees IPO deal slowdown

After a strong start to 2020, YTD IPOs (42) and proceeds (US$7.8b) declined 47% by volume and 48% by proceeds in Europe, as the COVID-19 pandemic significantly curtailed IPO activity from March through to May. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), IPO activity was down 11% by volume (8 IPOs) and down 43% by proceeds (US$0.9b) YTD 2020. Indian exchanges saw 16 IPOs, which raised US$1.4b YTD 2020, a decline of 61% by deal number and 9% decrease by proceeds. There was also one IPO each on the Malawi and Bangladesh exchanges, which raised US$29m and US$7m, respectively.

Dr. Martin Steinbach, EY EMEIA IPO Leader, says:

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a new remote IPO environment, with virtual investor meetings, real-time feedback and shortened roadshow periods to limit the short-term market risks. With volatility levels trending down and rebounds in main indices, markets are adaptable, resilient and supportive for IPO activity to pick up in the second half of 2020, especially in technology, pharmaceuticals and life science sectors.”

H2 2020 outlook: IPO rebound expected

Given the COVID-19 outbreak and its negative impact on global economic activities, in the short to medium term, governments around the world will continue to implement policies and stimulate economies against rising unemployment. At the same time, central banks will inject more liquidity into the financial systems. Both actions bode well for equity markets and IPO activity in 2H 2020.


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About the data

The data presented in the Global IPO trends: Q2 2020 report and press release is from Dealogic and EY. YTD 2020 (i.e., January-June) is based on priced IPOs as of 23 June 2020 and expected IPOs up to 30 June 2020.  All data contained in this document is sourced from Dealogic, CB Insights, Crunchbase and EY unless otherwise noted.


Source: Dealogic, EY


Second quarter IPO activity

Month Number of IPOs Proceeds (US$b)
April 2018 99 $10.1
May 2018 117 $16.4
June 2018 141 $23.2
April 2019 85 $16.8
May 2019 101 $23.4
June 2019 120 $20.3
April 2020 54 $4.8
May 2020 43 $8.4
June 2020 89 $27.9

Appendix: January 2020 – June 2020 global IPOs by sector

Sectors Number of IPOs Percentage of global IPOs Proceeds (US$b) Percentage of global capital raised
Consumer products 31 7.4% $2.4 3.5%
Consumer staples 24 5.7% $3.9 5.6%
Energy 22 5.2% $4.0 5.7%
Financials 12 2.9% $4.8 6.8%
Healthcare 76 18.1% $15.9 22.9%
Industrials 83 19.8% $9.6 13.8%
Materials 31 7.4% $2.9 4.3%
Media and entertainment 12 2.9% $2.6 3.7%
Real estate 22 5.2% $1.8 2.6%
Retail 17 4.1% $4.3 6.2%
Technology 87 20.8% $17.2 24.8%
Telecommunications 2 0.5% $0.1 0.1%
Global total 419 100.0% $69.5 100.0%

Source: Dealogic, EY


Figures may not total 100% due to rounding.