BrokerDealer.com blog post courtesy of extracts from FT.com
BlackRock, the world’s largest institutional investor, has sounded the alarm over the quality of European IPOs as hedge funds increase their bets against private equity-backed flotations, after the market for companies going public was soured by a string of high-profile failures. BlackRock said the flotation process needed to be improved, after the best six months for European IPOs since the financial crisis was ruined by poor market debuts from companies including Saga, the UK retirement group, Applus, the Spanish industrial testing business and eDreams Odigeo, the online travel agent.
Mr Leach told the Financial Times that the sheer volume of IPOs coming to market this year had affected communication between issuers and investors: “There has not been the same level of thoughtfulness and dialogue on valuation and structure.”
BlackRock tracked 104 IPOs in Europe in the first six months of this year, of which 38 deals – just over a third – are trading below their issue price. The Eurostoxx index is down around 0.5 per cent so far this year. Twenty companies which had been planning to go public – including names such as retail chain Fat Face – pulled their flotations. This year €33.7bn has already been raised in the European IPO market, more than in any full year since 2007, according to PwC.
Some of the worst performing IPOs in Europe have been those brought to market by private equity investors, with eDreams Odigeo, backed by Permira and Ardian, and Applus, the Carlyle-backed inspection group, both issuing profit warnings soon after listing. Many private equity groups use independent advisory firms such as STJ Advisors, which investment bankers say are too aggressive on pricing.
Investment bankers hit back at BlackRock’s criticisms of recent IPOs. A senior banker at one large bank said: “BlackRock wasn’t complaining after the first quarter when all the IPOs were up. Every potential investment should be looked at on its individual merits. The last time I checked, fund managers weren’t forced to invest.”