Stock market flotations grind to a halt ahead of General Election

Tim Wallace
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Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air cancelled its float last June, but revived it last month
The expected flood of initial public offerings (IPOs) racing to debut on the stock market ahead of the election has barely materialised, analysts at EY said today.

Market commentators had expect­ed a rush of floating firms as sellers tried to cash out before the uncert­ainty of the General Election, combined with any potential coal­ition negotiations in May.

But the expected volume has not emerged, with only a modest rise in the number of IPOs.

The first three months of the year saw 10 main market floats – the most in this period for five years, but not a stellar figure. And the number on the Alternative Investment Market dropped from 16 floats a year ago to five in the past three months.

However, there have been some high-profile successes, as Wizz Air and challenger bank Aldermore both managed successful floats despite struggling to sell stock last year.

“Timing plays an important role. The Wizz Air and Aldermore floats and subsequent positive trading performance demonstrate that the market is open for quality assets at the right price,” said EY’s David Vaughan. “Activity leading up to and directly following the election is set to slow leading to a significant dip in the number of floats during the second quarter.”

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