European listings in US rise at fastest pace since 2000

European companies have raised $9.5bn so far through New York IPOs this year

European businesses are rushing to list in the US at the fastest pace in two decades, lured by the promise of higher valuations even as continental exchanges step up efforts to keep companies at home.

Swiss sneaker brand On Holding, backed by tennis star Roger Federer, said on Monday it will list in New York, while cryptocurrency miner Argo Blockchain filed for a US IPO on Friday. UK FinTech firm Wise plans to sell American depositary receipts.

They will add to the $9.5 billion raised by European companies through New York IPOs this year through Monday, the most for this period since 2000, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The flood of trans-Atlantic listings is prompting governments and stock exchanges across Europe to fight back by making IPOs at home more attractive, especially for early stage companies. London is looking into a series of tech company-friendly rules changes, while in Germany, some political parties have proposed an exchange for domestic start-ups.

Companies are attracted to the US by dizzying first-day pops and Wall Street investors’ willingness to spend big on new stocks, particularly in hot or novel sectors.

“Valuations in the US are typically higher, particularly for unprofitable or young tech companies,” said Gavin Launder, a fund manager at Legal & General Investment Management, also noting New York’s deeper pool of specialist analysts and investors.

The US listings are especially welcome since debuts from Chinese companies have dried up after a probe into ride-hailing business Didi Global and a broader regulatory crackdown from Beijing. Other firms pulled planned offerings and US-listed Chinese stocks plunged, casting a pall over what is already a record year for IPOs from the country on Wall Street.

The flow of European companies to New York is unlikely to stop. Bloomberg reported on Friday that PAI Partners is considering taking Dutch bottling business Refresco public in the US, while Italian aerospace company Leonardo said it could revisit a Wall Street IPO of its defence electronics unit DRS, which had been cancelled in March.

Not all IPO hopefuls make it in New York, however. Teads BV, the digital-advertising arm of media and telecoms company Altice, and hearing-aid maker Hear.com NV have delayed US listings in recent months.

And some of the new Europe-based stocks have not traded well on Wall Street. After initially surging by a third during their debut session in May, shares in Swedish plant-based drink company Oatly Group now trade 6.1 per cent below the IPO price.

Updated: August 24th 2021, 4:00 AM
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