Inside Track: Moncler’s heavily subscribed new issue gives Milan a boost

David Hellier
Follow David

LONDON has enjoyed something of a return to form in the new issues market during 2013, but it’s the Milan stock market that is going out with a flourish.

While the Dubai-based luxury property group Damac limped in a rather pedestrian way towards a £1.6bn London flotation this week after flirting with a postponement, there’s no lack of excitement in Milan where the luxury coats group Moncler is finding its shares on offer are around 15 times oversubscribed.

Milan, which hosted the successful flotation of Brunello Cucinelli last year, is fast becoming the European home for such issues, a mantle that was close to being commandeered by Hong Kong. Of course the success of the Borsa Italiana is not uninteresting to those who reside in these parts since it is part of the London Stock Exchange Group.

The less than dazzling Damac flotation in London almost certainly brings the curtain down on main market listings this year but there is talk of a big pipeline for the New Year. It’s not all plain sailing in Milan, however. Yesterday the freight forwarding group Savino del Bene was forced to pull its issue after finding there was insufficient demand for the new shares on offer.

When Simon Collins put himself forward to become chairman of KPMG UK, he pledged to put his own pay up to a vote of the firm’s partners, a move towards openness that wins him much support.

KPMG has had a pretty solid year, gradually repositioning itself to benefit from growing revenue streams in the areas of cyber security and advisory.

It’s true it lost the HSBC audit account as part of a shake-up on auditor rotation, but this was more than compensated for by winning the Unilever audit earlier this week.

Collins’ pay proposal has been put to partners ahead of results and it would be a surprise if there is much discontent when the findings are published in the next few days.

While there’s been a pretty healthy new issues market, the same can not really be said of mergers and acquisitions where 2013 has been a quiet year in the UK.

Yesterday AZ Electronic Materials. a London-listed supplier of chemicals to tablets and televisions, received a £1.5bn bid at a 53 per cent premium to its share price from German group Merck. The directors have recommended it but Merck wants 95 per cent shareholder approval. It should get there but you never know.