After a strong first half in 2014, the European IPO market lost considerable momentum in the third quarter thanks to nervousness about a host of global political and economic issues.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Q3 IPO Watch report issued today, Europe saw 76 IPOs that raised €6.6 billion ($8.38 billion) in the period ending Sept. 30 compared to the 145 IPOs that brought in €22.3 billion ($28.3 billion) in the second quarter.
“We’ve started to see the first signs that a little bit of the heat has gone out of the market place,” said Mark Hughes, a partner in PwC’s London Capital Markets. “There were a number of deals at start of July that were pulled due to market conditions.”
Stock markets and investors, Hughes said, got spooked by a series of events throughout the quarter: the advance of ISIS in Iraq, the ongoing Syrian conflict, reports of Ebola’s spread in Africa, and signs of weakening in some regional economies. In London, the looming Scottish referendum even proved to be a distraction.
That slowdown was also felt in the U.S. IPO market, which had 68 IPOs in the third quarter, down from 89 in the previous quarter, according to PwC figures. However, thanks to the Alibaba mega-IPO, the amount raised in the third quarter soared to $36.42 billion from $19.8 billion in the second quarter, according to the report.
The good news, on the European front, is that the fourth quarter is off to a solid start. In just the first week of October, European IPOs raised €4.3 billion ($5.6 billion), according to PwC. These included the closely watched Rocket Internet and Zalando IPOs in Berlin.
Overall, for the first nine months of 2014, Europe has seen 289 IPOs, compared to 173 for the same period in 2013. The region is likely headed toward its biggest year for funds raised from IPOs since 2007, before the financial collapse.
“Prospects remain good,” Hughes said. “There are a lot of good deals in the pipeline.”