Interactive Investor

IPO market in 2021: the big winners and losers

17th December 2021 12:55

Graeme Evans from interactive investor

Our City expert rounds up the best and worst performers in an exceptionally busy year of stock market listings in London.

IPOs roared back in 2021, as tech sector debutants including Deliveroo (LSE:ROO), Darktrace (LSE:DARK), Trustpilot (LSE:TRST) and Oxford Nanopore (LSE:ONT) created a listings buzz normally reserved for Wall Street. The flurry of activity, which also featured Dr. Martens (LSE:DOCS) and Moonpig (LSE:MOON), came in sharp contrast to previous years when Brexit and the onset of Covid-19 stemmed the flow of new listings.

Broker Liberum said the level of IPOs had been “extraordinary”, with the number of newcomers above £10 million market cap at an all-time high of 78 on a 12-month rolling basis in October.

Many of this year's crop of IPOs delivered some big gains, not least FTSE 250-listed Auction Technology Group (LSE:ATG) after it more than doubled in value. However, some fast-starters have faded, or in the case of much-hyped delivery firm Deliveroo not got going at all.

Most IPOs tend to pop above their issue price, but the food delivery firm was a notable exception after falling 26% in the hours after being valued at £7.85 billion. Earlier this month, the shares were trading at a record low of 218p, some 44% below their opening price.

Institutions shouldered the pain on the Deliveroo IPO, but many other stocks delivered big returns in the period of conditional dealings, when retail investors are excluded. As we revealed in the summer, a study by Stockopedia found that nine out of 10 IPOs in the preceding five years opened higher than their issue price.

This trend was seen on many of 2021's big-name flotations, with gene sequencing firm Oxford Nanopore up 40% and Auction Technology Group 36% stronger prior to the wider investing community being allowed to get involved a few days later.

True, the big institutions have large sums of money at stake and are better placed to handle the risks associated with first-day dealings. But as interactive investor chief executive Richard Wilson said a few months ago, this preferential treatment looks like “daylight robbery” as far as retail investors are concerned.

Money transfer business Wise (LSE:WISE) sought to level the playing field, when it spurned the usual IPO bookbuilding process in favour of an auction where the price is set dependent on demand on the first day of trading.

Wise said its direct listing was a “fairer, cheaper and more transparent way” to broaden its ownership. It added: “Listing this way means that retail and institutional investors can both buy shares at the same time and in the same way. No one will get preferential treatment.”

The Shoreditch-based fintech firm surged from the 800p seen in July's opening auction to as high as 1,176p, only to fall back below its opening mark in recent weeks as tech sector valuations came under pressure from rising interest rate expectations and ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty.

AI cyber security firm Darktrace suffered a similar reversal of fortunes after a bearish note from Peel Hunt spooked sentiment just as the fast-growing company made its entry into the FTSE 100 index.

Darktrace rose by more than 300% in the months after its April float, but then halved in value after the City firm slapped a “sell” recommendation and highlighted what it believed was a disconnect between the valuation and the revenue opportunity. The pressure was exacerbated when original private equity investors took advantage of the end of their lock-up period to sell some of their shareholdings at a profit.

Darktrace still remains one of the best performing newcomers of the year, but Auction Technology Group tops our list featuring a selection of high-profile IPOs from 2021. The company, whose Saleroom platform is often seen on BBC's Bargain Hunt, is now worth more than £1.6 billion thanks to the rapid acceleration in the industry's shift online.

The winners up to Monday 13 December include:

Auction Technology Group (LSE:ATG) (23 February)

IPO: 600p, £600 million

First day close: 800p

First day volumes: 11 million (daily average 268,000)

Start of unconditional dealings on 26 February: 817.9p-780p

High: 1,680.4p (1 September)

Low: 734.6p (23 February)

Price in FTSE 250 on 13 December: 1,406p, up 134%


Oxford Nanopore (LSE:ONT) (30 September)

IPO: 425p, £3.38 billion

First day close: 612.6p

First day volumes: 23.3 million (daily average 1.7 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 5 October: 598.2p-567.5p

High: 736p (2 December)

Low: 511.5p (5 November)

Price on 13 December: 714p, up 68%


Darktrace (LSE:DARK) (30 April)

IPO: 250p, £1.7 billion

First day close: 330p

First day volumes: 23.4 million (daily average 4.2 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 6 May: 320p-320.5p

High: 1,003p (24 September)

Low 250p (30 April)

Price in FTSE 100 on 13 December: 391.8p, up 57%


Bridgepoint (LSE:BPT) (21 July)

IPO: 350p, £2.88 billion

First day close: 452p

First day volumes: 47.6 million (daily average 1.7 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 26 July: 484p-499.6p

High: 571p (16 November)

Low: 420p (21 July)

Price in FTSE 250 on 13 December: 475p, up 36%


Trustpilot (LSE:TRST) (23 March)

IPO: 265p, £1.1 billion

First day close 265p

First day volumes: 68.4 million (daily average 2.2 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 26 March: 269.5p-265p

High: 481.8p (2 September)

Low: 249.95p (24 March)

Price in FTSE 250 on 13 December: 337p, up 27%


Dr. Martens (LSE:DOCS) (29 January)

IPO: 370p, £3.7 billion

First day close: 450p

First day volumes: 67.1 million (daily average 1.1 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 3 February: 454p-445p

High: 521.6p (9 February)

Low: 355.6p  (2 November)

Price in FTSE 250 on 13 December: 398.2p, up 8%


Moonpig (LSE:MOON) (2 February)

IPO: 350p, £1.2 billion

First day close: 410p

First day volumes: 41.4 million (daily average 700,000)

Start of unconditional dealings on 5 February: 435p-423.85p

High: 499.95p (22 February)

Low: 279.8p (6 October)

Price in FTSE 250 on 13 December: 354.2p, up 1%

The fallers up to Monday 13 December include:

Victorian Plumbing (LSE:VIC) (22 June)

Placing: 262p, £850 million

First day close: 330p

First day volumes: 13.3 million (daily average 1.1 million)

High: 341.8p (23 June)

Low: 85.12p (9 December)

AIM price on 13 December: 100p, down 62%


Alphawave IP (LSE:AWE) (13 May)

IPO: 410p, £3.1 billion

First day close: 370p

First day volumes: 62.4 million (daily average 1.8 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 18 May: 372p-340p

High: 473.6p (6 August)

Low: 149.2p (9 December)

Price on 13 December: 174.6p, down 57%


Deliveroo (LSE:ROO) (31 March)

IPO: 390p, £7.85 billion

First day close: 287.45p

First day volumes: 88.9 million (daily average 4.1 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 7 April: 283p-286p

High: 396.8p (18 August)

Low: 218.38p (6 December)

Price on 13 December: 222.4p, down 43% (LSE:MADE) (16 June)

IPO: 200p, £775 million

First day close: 197p

First day volumes: 10.8 million (daily average 1.7 million)

Start of unconditional dealings on 21 June: 199.1p-200p

High: 214.4p (24 June)

Low: 112.2p (9 December)

Price in FTSE All-Share on 13 December: 130p, down 35%


Wise (LSE:WISE) (12 July)

Open auction: 800p

First day close: 880p, £8.75 billion

First day volumes: 62.7 million (daily average 2.3 million)

High: 1,176.5p (23 September)

Low: 700p (24 November)

Price on 13 December: 759p, down 5%

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