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.
- The impact of COVID-19 pandemic drove YTD deals and proceeds down year-on-year
- Technology, industrials and health care sectors dominate with 246 IPOs raising US$42.8b
- A notable rebound of IPO activity is expected in 2H 2020
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 in the EY quarterly report, Global IPO trends: Q2 2020.
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. There was also one IPO each on the Malawi and Bangladesh exchanges, which raised US$29m and US$7m, respectively.
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.
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.
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.
Commenting on the research findings, Stelios Demetriou, Partner and Head of Strategy and Transactions of EY Cyprus said: “After a strong start in Q1 2020, IPO activity declined between March and May in most markets, because of the economy lockdown. During that period, we witnessed a new remote IPO environment, with virtual investor meetings, and shortened roadshow periods to limit the short-term market risks. However, we began to see a strong rebound in June, with stock prices rebounding and market sentiment improving. Today, with 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.”