LSE welcomes £900m flood of new floats

FOUR separate companies raised a total of over £900m yesterday as they floated on the London Stock Exchange, the best day for listings in the City since May 2008.

African Barrick Gold (ABG) raised £581m as it came to the market at 575p per share – the largest initial public offering on the LSE in nearly two years.

ABG was spun out of Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer, last month. Its float yesterday was priced at 575p per share, at the lower end of its 550p-650p range, valuing the company at
around £2.3bn. The valuation could propel the company into the FTSE 100.

Also floating yesterday were fashion retailer Supergroup, the owner of the Superdry brand favoured by celebrities such as footballer David Beckham, which raised £125m; real estate investment trust Metric Property Investments, which raised £175m; and life assistance business CPP Group, which raised £30m to pay down its debt and £120m as a windfall for its founding shareholders.

The last time over £900m was raised in one day on the LSE via IPOs was in May 2008, when New World Resources raised £1.3bn and Fresnillo raised £913m.

The bumper day for listings came after a period of turbulence on the IPO markets, which recently saw a raft of high-profile floats pulled due to muted investor demand.

Tracey Pierce, head of equity primary markets at the LSE, said: “Today’s listings highlight how companies are keen to tap into London’s deep pool of equity capital to help them continue to develop and grow their businesses.”

Last month, high street retail chain New Look, Merlin Entertainment and Travelport all cancelled their planned flotations on the LSE within a matter of days, dashing the hopes of investors who had been cautiously optimistic of an upturn.