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Lexis®PSL Corporate and Market Tracker
have conducted research to examine current market trends in respect of equity
capital markets (ECM) transactions in 2019, using 2018 and 2017 ECM
transactions for comparative purposes.
Background and approach
We reviewed a total of 233 IPOs (131 on
the Main Market and 102 on AIM). The IPOs reviewed exclude introductions and
transfers from AIM to the Main Market.
Market capitalisation has been
calculated at the opening price on the day of admission. Where gross proceeds
have been calculated, the figures refer to the gross proceeds received by the
company and not proceeds raised by selling shareholders (if any). The
percentages included in this report have been rounded up or down as appropriate
and accordingly percentages may not in aggregate add up to 100%.
This review of 2019 IPOs forms part of
our annual trend report which aims to provide insight into the current dynamics
of ECM activity in the UK. The other parts of our 2019 trend report comprise:
Secondary Offers in 2019—Main Market and AIM
Standard listings in 2019
Risk factor disclosure in 2019 IPOs
Legal and regulatory developments in Equity Capital Markets 2019
IPO activity slowed substantially in
2019 as Brexit deadlines and geopolitical tensions suppressed investor appetite
and created uncertainty for issuers considering an initial public offer of
shares. Main Market IPO activity was substantially subdued compared to the year
before. However, the London flagship market did attract some high profile
international companies such as Network International Holdings and Airtel
Africa both valued at over £2.5bn on admission. AIM had a difficult year in
terms of IPO activity with only ten companies coming to the market, a record
low since its launch in 1995.
IPO deal volume declines further
Twenty six companies within our scope
completed an IPO on the Main Market in 2019, representing a 45% decrease from
2018 which saw 47 IPOs on the Main Market. From 2017 to 2018, Main Market IPOs
decreased by 19%. The steep decline from 2018 to 2019 can largely be attributed
to geopolitical tensions and political uncertainty in the UK but also part of a
long standing trend of declining IPO markets across the globe.
UK IPO activity had seen some recovery
in 2017 and 2018 after the low in 2016, the year of the UK’s Brexit referendum,
which saw 28 Main Market IPOs but 2019 activity dipped down further still.
Although 2019 started slowly, the first
half of the year was the busiest with June and July showing the most IPO
activity (four companies listing in each month). Companies may have been keen
to complete their IPOs after the delayed Brexit deadline in April 2019 and
before the next deadline at the end of October 2019.
The last quarter of 2019 was subdued
with the October Brexit deadline and general election likely to have had an
impact on activity levels. This contrasts with the last quarters in 2017 and
2018 which showed more healthy IPO activity.
Gross proceeds and
market capitalisation—Main Market
Gross proceeds and market capitalisation
The aggregate market capitalisation of
companies completing a Main Market IPO decreased from 2018 to 2019 by 40%
(2018: £23,911m; 2019: £14,377m). The percentage decrease from 2017 to 2018 was
similar at 35% (2017: £37,023m).
The average market capitalisation for a
company listing on the Main Market in 2019 was £553m which was up on the
average for 2018 (£508m) but less than the average in 2017 (£638m).
The aggregate gross proceeds raised by
companies on the Main Market on IPO decreased less sharply than aggregate
market capitalisation by 19% from 2018 to 2019 (2018: £5,020m; 2019: £4,054m).
The decrease in aggregate gross proceeds from 2017 to 2018 was more significant
at 38% (2017: £8,055m).
Despite the decrease in aggregate gross
proceeds from 2017 to 2019, average gross proceeds raised per company in a Main
Market IPO in 2019 was £156m which was up on the average for 2018 (£107m) and
Top three Main Market IPOs by market
Airtel Africa plc
Network International Holdings plc
Date of admission
Media & telecommunications
Region of operation
Middle East, Africa
The top three Main Market IPOs for 2019
in terms of market capitalisation were Airtel Africa plc, Network International
Holdings plc and Trainline plc. Even with Brexit on the horizon, international
companies such as Airtel Africa (providing telecommunications services in
Africa) and Network International Holdings (a payments solutions provider in
the Middle East and Africa) continued to be attracted to the Main Market.
Airtel Africa was valued at £2.74bn on admission and also listed on the
Official Trading List of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Both Network International Holdings and
Trainline had cornerstone investors which agreed in advance to take up shares
in the IPO: Mastercard took a 9.99% stake in Network International and Baillie
Gifford (on behalf of underlying cornerstone investors) took a 11.9% stake in
In 2018, the largest IPO in terms of
market capitalisation was Aston Martin with a market capitalisation of £3.9bn.
In 2017, it was Allied Irish Banks plc valued at £11.2bn which has been the
largest London IPO since 2011.
The combined market value of the top
three IPOs in 2019 amounted to £7,343.3m which represented 51% of the total
aggregate market capitalisation of all companies completing an IPO on the Main
Market in that year. In 2018, the top three represented 38% of total aggregate
market capitalisation. In 2017, the top three represented 62.5% skewed by the
significant sized Allied Irish Banks float.
Top three Main Market IPOs by gross
Huatai Securities Co Limited
The Schiehallion Fund Limited
Specialist fund segment
The Chinese securities group, Huatai
Securities Co Ltd, was the largest Main Market IPO in 2019 in terms of gross
proceeds raised by the company. It listed global depositary receipts (GDRs) in
London under the Shanghai-London Stock Connect cross-listing mechanism in June
2019. Huatai Securities was the first company to make use of the
Shanghai-London Stock Connect which allows Shanghai listed companies to issue
GDRs on the London Stock Exchange and London-listed companies to issue Chinese
Depositary Receipts in Shanghai.
Huatai Securities raised £1.3bn, one and
a half times more than the largest IPO in terms of gross proceeds for 2018
(Smithson Investment Trust plc which raised £822.1m) and just over the £1.2bn
raised by EN+ Group plc in its GDR issue in 2017.
The top three 2019 IPOs in terms of
gross proceeds raised £2,307.1m in aggregate which represents 57% of all new
money raised in Main Market IPOs in 2019. In 2018, the top three raised £1,646m
(33%) and in 2017, the top three raised £2,803m (35%).
Range of gross proceeds
In 2019, 42% of Main Market IPOs raised
over £100m. In both 2018 and 2017 the percentages were lower at 27% and 31%
respectively. This indicates an increase in the proportion of companies raising
higher levels of gross proceeds in 2019 compared to the previous two years.
One company in each of 2017 and 2019
raised over £1bn (and both were GDR issues by overseas companies) whereas 2018
did not see any companies reach the £1bn mark.
Range of market capitalisation
Unfavourable market conditions appear to
have deterred an increased number of smaller companies from listing on the Main
Market. Companies listing with an opening market capitalisation below £100m in
2019 made up a lower percentage of all Main Market IPOs than in previous years,
with 38% of transactions falling into this range, compared to 42% in 2018 and
48% in 2017.
In 2019, six companies were valued at
over £1bn (and two over £2bn) on IPO representing 23% of all Main Market IPOs.
In each of 2018 and 2017, seven companies achieved a market capitalisation of
over £1bn on IPO (representing 15% and 12% respectively of all Main Market IPOs
in the year). Our findings show that the proportion of larger companies, with a
market capitalisation over £1bn, coming to the Main Market increased in 2019.
In 2018, five companies came in at over
£2bn with Aston Martin at over £3bn. In 2017, three companies had a market
capitalisation of over £2bn on IPO and these were all considerably larger — notably
Allied Irish Banks plc with a market capitalisation of over £11bn.
Investment sector continues to dominate
Main Market activity
The investment sector dominated Main
Market IPOs in 2019 as it did in 2018. The next most popular sectors
represented were the financial services and professional services sectors with
three companies listing in 2019 in each sector. The second most popular sector
in 2018 was the financial services sector.
Ten Main Market IPOs (38%) in 2019 were
in the investment sector. Four of these were special purpose acquisition
vehicles (SPACs) and listed on the standard segment of the Official List. In
our review Standard listings in 2019 we provide further
analysis on the companies listing on the standard segment of the Official List
Two companies in the investment sector
were admitted to the specialist fund segment of the Main Market for highly
specialised investment entities.
The ten investment sector Main Market
IPOs in 2019 raised £1.2bn in aggregate representing 30% of all funds raised in
2019 Main Market IPOs.
The financial services sector saw three
companies complete Main Market IPOs in 2019: Huatai Securities, Finablr and
Zaim Credit Systems.
These companies raised £1.5bn in
aggregate representing 37% of all funds raised in Main Market IPOs in 2019.
£1.3bn of this was raised by Huatai Securities which was the top grossing Main
Market IPO in 2019 raising more than double the amount of the second highest
grossing 2019 Main Market IPO (Airtel Africa).
The three professional services firms
(DWF, Network International and Everarc Holdings) completed Main Market IPOs in
2019 and raised £333m in aggregate representing 8% of all funds raised in Main
2019 saw two IPOs in the media and
telecommunications sector: Airtel Africa and Helios Towers. Both companies
provide telecommunications services in Africa. Helios Towers first announced an
intention to float on the Main Market in early 2018 but within two weeks of
that announcement postponed its IPO. It listed in October 2019 following Airtel
Africa’s float in July 2019.
The two companies in the mining sector completing
Main Market IPOs both listed on the standard segment of the Official List.
Ferro-Alloy, the Kazakhstan based vanadium mining company, raised £5m and
Metalnrg, investing in the natural resources sector, raised just over a quarter
of a million.
These were both considerably smaller in
terms of market capitalisation and gross proceeds raised than the mining sector
companies listing on the Main Market in 2018 and 2017.
JSC NAC Kazatomprom, the Kazakhstan
based uranium producer, listed in 2018 raising £311m for the company and was
the third largest company in terms of market capitalisation that year
(£2,411m). 2017 saw two Main Market IPOs in the mining sector: En+ Group which
raised £1.2bn and had a market capitalisation of £5.5bn on admission and Polyus
PJSC which raised £433m and achieved a market capitalisation of £6.3bn.
Top ten Main Market IPOs by gross
Huatai Securities Co Ltd
The Schiehallion Fund Ltd
Octopus Renewables Infrastructure
EverArc Holdings Ltd
Watches of Switzerland Group plc
US Solar Fund plc
JP Morgan Global Core Real Assets Ltd
Aquila European Renewables Income Fund
The investment sector was also best
represented in the top ten Main Market IPOs by gross proceeds in 2019 with five
companies from that sector appearing in the list.
Top ten Main Market IPOs by market
Helios Towers plc
DWF Group plc
Although the investment sector dominated
the top ten list of 2019 Main Market IPOs by gross proceeds raised, when
looking at the top ten companies by market capitalisation a more diverse range
of industry sectors was seen. Two companies from each of the media &
telecommunications sector, financial services sector and investment sector made
it into the top ten by market capitalisation.
incorporation and operation—Main Market
The majority of companies completing
Main Market IPOs in 2019 were incorporated in England & Wales as was the
case in the previous two years. As noted above, 2019 saw the first Chinese
company, Huatai Securities Co Ltd, list on the Main Market under the
Shanghai-London Stock Connect cross-listing mechanism with its issue of GDRs.
The spread of countries in which the
companies listing in 2019 operate was much broader than the countries of
incorporation represented (as also seen in the previous year). Brexit worries
did not seem to deter international businesses from listing in London such as
Metalnrg plc (United States), Airtel Africa plc (Africa), Network International
Holdings plc (Middle East & Africa), Ferro-Alloy Resources Limited
(Kazakhstan), Zaim Credit Systems plc (Russia) and Huatai Securities Co Ltd
AIM IPOs come in at record low
2019 was a disappointing year for AIM
IPOs. From 50 AIM IPOs in 2017 and 42 in 2018, the total number plummeted to
ten in 2019 which was 76% down from the previous year. This was a record low
for London’s growth market and even lower than 2009 which saw 13 AIM IPOs.
The decrease from 2018 to 2019 was much
more marked than the decrease in Main Market deal volume at 45%.
This graph further shows how subdued the
AIM IPO market was throughout 2019 with the first quarter being the quietest,
only recording one IPO. Four AIM IPOs completed in the second quarter of 2019,
followed by two in the third quarter and three in the last quarter of the year.
The largest AIM IPO in 2019 in terms of
both market capitalisation and gross proceeds raised, Uniphar plc, completed in
The second quarter of 2018 was also the
busiest for AIM in that year. In 2017, the last quarter of the year saw the
most AIM IPOs take place.
Gross proceeds and
Despite large fall in gross proceeds and
market capitalisation, AIM attracts larger companies
The aggregate market capitalisation for
AIM IPOs in 2019 was £1,276m which marks a 64% decrease from 2018 (£3,576m).
The percentage decrease from 2017 to 2018 was much less marked at 16%.
The average market capitalisation for a
company listing on AIM in 2019 was £128m which was up on the average for 2018
and 2017 (around £85m in each year) which indicates that in the challenging
conditions seen in 2019, relatively larger companies were coming to the market
than in the previous two years.
Aggregate gross proceeds raised by
companies in AIM IPOs in 2019 was £417m which was down by 61% from the figure
for 2018 (£1,066m). Aggregate gross proceeds decreased by 23% from 2017 to 2018
The average gross proceeds raised by a
company listing on AIM in 2019 was £42m which was up on the average for 2018
(£25m) and 2017 (£28m).
Top three AIM IPOs in 2019
The Pebble Group plc
Travel, hospitality, leisure &
The top three AIM IPOs in 2019 in terms
of both market capitalisation and gross proceeds were Uniphar plc, Loungers plc
and The Pebble Group Plc. Uniphar plc, the established healthcare services
business headquartered in Ireland, also listed on Euronext Dublin and raised
£121m in gross proceeds and was valued at £299m on admission.
In 2018, the largest AIM IPO by market
capitalisation was Codemasters Group Holdings plc, a video games developer,
with a market capitalisation of £347m and by gross proceeds was Yellow Cake
plc, the uranium trader, which raised £151m.
Most companies (60%) completing an AIM
IPO in 2019 raised less than £50m. This was also the case in 2018 and 2017
although the proportion of companies in this range bracket was higher.
In 2019 and 2018, no AIM company raised
more than £200m. In 2017, the highest grossing AIM IPO was Irish investment
company Greencoat Renewables Plc which raised £238m.
The most popular market capitalisation
range for 2019 AIM IPOs was £150m to £200m. In each of 2018 and 2017, the £25m
to £50m range was the most popular.
In 2019, most companies (60%) coming to
AIM were valued at over £100m on admission. In 2018 and 2017 fewer companies
coming to AIM had a market capitalisation of more than £100m (2018: 33%; 2017:
30%). Although the number of companies coming to AIM dropped drastically in
2019, the proportion of companies with a market capitalisation of over £100m
There was diversity in industry sector
in companies completing an AIM IPO in 2019 but the most popular was healthcare
with three AIM IPOs. The healthcare sector also saw the largest AIM IPO in
terms of market capitalisation and gross proceeds (Uniphar plc). The other two
2019 healthcare sector AIM IPOs were Diaceuticals plc, a Belfast-based data
analytics company, and Induction Healthcare Group plc, a healthcare technology
company which has developed an app to help healthcare professionals communicate
with each other.
The popularity of the healthcare sector
for 2019 AIM IPOs can be contrasted with 2019 Main Market IPOs where the
investment sector was the most popular with 38% of companies listing in that
sector. No investment sector company was admitted to AIM in 2019 (although
Longboat Energy plc, which is categorised in the Oil & Gas industry sector,
is newly incorporated and regarded as an investing company for the purposes of
the AIM Rules for Companies). Four newly incorporated investment sector
companies completing 2019 Main Market IPOs were admitted to the standard
segment of the Official List.
incorporation and operation—AIM
AIM saw much less geographical
diversification in 2019 in terms of companies’ country of incorporation and
country of operation than in 2018. In 2019 all ten companies which completed an
AIM IPO were incorporated and operated in the UK, Ireland and/or Channel
Islands. In 2018, AIM attracted a variety of international companies with
operations in Europe, Africa, Australia, US, UAE and Asia Pacific.
Full list of 2019 IPOs
included in this report
2019 Main Market IPOs
Country of incorporation
Country of operation
Gross proceeds raised by company
Dev Clever Holdings plc
Computing & IT
Starcrest Education The Belt &
Ferro-Alloy Resources Ltd
Middle East and Africa
Blencowe Resources plc
Riverstone Credit Opportunities Income
Watches of Switzerland Group Plc
Mustang Energy plc
Energy & utilities
Mining, metals & extraction
BSF Enterprise plc
National World plc
RTW Venture Fund Limited
Pharmaceuticals & biotechnology
Zaim Credit Systems plc
2019 AIM IPOs
Induction Healthcare Group plc
Computing and IT
Argentex Group plc
Banking and finance
Longboat Energy plc
Oil and gas
M J Hudson plc
England, Jersey, Guernsey, Luxembourg
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Market Tracker is a unique service for corporate lawyers housed within Lexis®PSL Corporate. It features a powerful transaction data analysis tool for accessing, analysing and comparing the specific features of corporate transactions, with a comprehensive and searchable library of deal documentation across 14 different deal types. The Market Tracker product also includes news and analysis of key corporate deals and activity and in-depth analysis of recent trends in corporate transactions.
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