Bullish markets boost private equity flotation exits this year

Michael Bow
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PRIVATE equity firms are turning to the stock market to offload portfolio companies after figures showed exit values this year have surpassed both 2011 and 2012 combined.

The total sale value of private equity-backed companies sold between January and June has surged by nearly 30 per cent versus a year ago, to hit €29.1bn.

One-third of these so-called exits have been sold through stock markets in initial public offerings, as buoyant market values tempt more firms to list companies.

Cash made from these sales so far this year ­­– around €8bn – is more than both the €3.7bn in 2012 and €1.1bn in 2011 combined.

The UK helped lead the trend after the mega float of Partnership and other London floats of Esure, Countrywide and HellermannTyton last quarter.

However, the value of companies being bought by private equity firms has fallen over the past year from €24.1bn for the first half of 2012 to €20.7bn this year.

The data, compiled by the Centre for Management Buyout Research for Equistone Partners and Ernst & Young, also showed the value of refinancings has outpaced the whole of last year’s performance, at €20bn.