The West

Australia has had it best year for IPOs in a decade.
Australia has had it best year for IPOs in a decade.

It's official, initial public offers are in hot demand.

New data from EY shows the global float market has built on a encouraging start to 2014 to record a stand-out first half, led by the US and the Asia-Pacific, with Australia a prominent player.

However, the firm flagged slower activity in the second half, amid signs that investors are showing more caution around the pricing of floats.

EY's figures shows the number of IPOs across the globe in the June half is up 60 per cent on 12 months ago at 588, while the amount of capital raised is 67 per cent higher at $US118 billion ($126 billion).

The US and China have led the way by deal volume with 162 and 108 floats, respectively, ahead of Britain with 56. Australia is fifth with 23 behind Japan on 30, having raised more than $US4.3 billion for the half.

Australia's rush of activity has been fuelled by a strong sharemarket and private equity exits from the likes of Spotless Group, which listed in May. The country is now on track for its best IPO year, by funds raised, in a decade.

All up, nearly $US34 billion was raised across the Asia-Pacific during the half, aided by a blitz of listings on mainland Chinese exchanges at the opening of 2014.

The 217 floats generated an average first-day premium of 5 per cent, with the return growing to nearly 15 per cent by June 17.

By comparison, new US listings are trading nearly 19 per cent up on their issue price and their European peers 24 per cent.

China remains a hotbed of activity. Nearly 700 companies are thought to be readying to list, though regulators are likely to control the flow in this half.

The West Australian

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