Interactive Investor

IPO fever picking up again after summer lull

14th September 2021 13:01

Graeme Evans from interactive investor

Our shares writer rounds up the runners and riders in what is expected to be a lively IPO market over the coming months.


The initial public offering (IPO) market has picked up where it left off before the summer after investment bank Peel Hunt joined the growing list of companies planning a London flotation.

This autumn's line-up of newcomers is topped by gene sequencing firm Oxford Nanopore with a potential valuation of almost £3 billion and now also includes Prague-based Eurowag, which has been dubbed the Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER) of the trucking world.

Eurowag confirmed yesterday that it plans to join the premium segment of the London market, when it is thought a flotation could value the provider of payments and technology services to European hauliers at around £1.7 billion.

The investment vehicle Petershill Partners, which was set up by Goldman Sachs and holds minority stakes in alternative asset firms, this week confirmed its intention to list on London's main market.

Online marketplace Fruugo is eyeing the AIM market. It hosts approximately 1,400 retailers on its cross-border platform and wants the IPO to raise the funding and profile of the company in order to fuel a significant increase in growth.

There's also speculation today that BrewDog could follow suit after the Scottish brewer appointed City heavyweight Allan Leighton as its new chairman.

Newly-listed companies have already raised more money this year than achieved in all of 2018 and 2019, buoyed by the removal of Brexit uncertainty and the easing of pandemic restrictions.

The majority have offered upside for new shareholders, particularly the online auction business Auction Technology Group (LSE:ATG) and cyber security firm Darktrace (LSE:DARK). But there have been a few disappointments, with Deliveroo (LSE:ROO)and Alphawave IP Group Ordinary Shares (LSE:AWE) among those to find the going tough.

Peel Hunt, which has helped several mid and small cap companies to go public this year, now thinks the time is right for a float of its own. It confirmed today it hopes to join AIM on around 29 September, when it is reportedly set to be valued at about £300 million.

The company was formed in 1989 and last traded publicly in 2001, when it was taken private by Belgian bank KBC Group SA/NV (EURONEXT:KBC)for £219 million. Staff bought out KBC for £74 million in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2010, meaning that many stand to benefit from significant windfalls should this month's flotation go ahead.

It has been a particularly busy 2021 for Peel Hunt in terms of fundraisings and corporate activity, including this month's accelerated share placings by AIM-quoted diagnostics firm Genedrive (LSE:GDR) and FTSE 250-listed components specialist discoverIE Group (LSE:DSCV).

At the end of August, the group had 157 corporate clients with an average market capitalisation of approximately £775 million while it also provides research to over 1,200 institutions.

Chief executive Steven Fine said the IPO was an important milestone that would help accelerate growth plans at a time of strong momentum in the business.

One of Peel Hunt's clients is Responsible Housing REIT, which has announced plans to join the London market this month through a placing of shares to raise £250 million towards the expansion of supported housing accommodation.

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