London IPOs: Second time round it’s a buyer’s market - Bottom Line

Michael Bow
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The window for new listings on the London stock market unofficially opens today (Source: Getty Images)
And so it begins. The window for new listings on the London stock market unofficially opens again today after the summer lull and bankers will hope to rekindle the spirit that gripped the City earlier this year. But omens are not so good this time round.

Things were different back then. Pent up demand from fund managers and a huge windfall from Vodafone’s jumbo £17bn dividend had made the buy-side trigger happy; keen to deploy their new found coffers at the first opportunity. New listings like AO World and Just-Eat enjoyed sensational debuts thanks to the mountain of cash swilling around the City.

The feel-good factor helped propel the cash raised via initial public offerings between March and June to a record $14bn (£8.4bn). But a repeat of that febrility looks a long way off over the next two financial quarters, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, financial advisers had been banking on a takeover of construction giant Balfour Beatty, by Carillion, to deliver another cash windfall for UK fund managers. That deal fell through and with it a vital source of IPO-cash. Secondly, a batch of poorly performing floats have made buyers pickier about what they buy. Fingers have been burnt by floats sinking underwater and reputations are not easily healed.

There are good omens to cheer: hiking the amount of cash permissible in an Isa to £15,000 will boost the ammunition of fund managers to invest in new shares.

But whereas the opening of this year was a seller’s market, the end of it is likely to be more of a buyer’s terrain.

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