Strongest European first IPO quarter since dotcom boom in Q1 2000

Published at 10:44 AM on 10 April 2015


  • Q1 2015 saw €16.4bn of IPO proceeds in Europe, the strongest start for 15 years
  •   Activity was driven by €1bn+ deals in Madrid, London, Switzerland and Amsterdam
  •   London activity was more subdued, contributing 28% of   European IPO proceeds, down from 52% in Q1 2014 
  •   PE-backed deals continued to grab headlines, with the   London IPO of Auto Trader being the largest PE deal ever in the UK, raising €1.9bn
  •   PwC anticipates IPO proceeds in the first half of   2015 to remain largely consistent with European H1 2014 levels, although   continental European IPOs will feature prominently 


2015 started with a bang, with 81 IPOs raising a combined total of €16.4bn, a level not seen since the dot com era when more than €27bn was raised in Q1 2000, according to PwC’s latest  IPO Watch analysis.  The vast majority of proceeds raised were in continental Europe with Madrid, Euronext and the Swiss exchanges raising over half of total European IPO proceeds.


Much like the first half of 2014, activity in Europe in 2015 surpassed that of the US in terms of proceeds, due to a Stateside slowdown.


This resurgence in the IPO market follows a quiet second half of 2014, with only €15.8bn of IPO proceeds raised in the last six months of last year. Additionally, Q1 2015 activity represents a 44% increase on the prior year first quarter when only €11.4bn proceeds were raised from a stampede of retail deals capitalising on strong Christmas trading results.


Q1 15 saw a number high profile and larger deals coming to market with the privatisation of Spanish airport operator Aena which raised €3.9bn; the largest transaction since Glencore in May 2011. Proceeds in continental Europe more than doubled to €11.7bn and continental stock exchanges hosted 4 of the top 5 IPOs in the quarter.


Activity was more subdued in London with €4.6bn proceeds raised, compared to €5.9bn in Q1 14 when the IPO market benefited from renewed optimism and improving valuations. The UK contributed 28% in proceeds in Q1 15, down from 52% in Q1 14. 


James Anderson, Equity Advisory director at PwC, said:  


"After a more subdued second half in 2014, Q1 2015 has seen a resurgence in the IPO market across the UK and Europe. This has been helped by strong aftermarket performance, reducing volatility, and portfolio managers with significant cash looking to be put to work. Investors are focusing on well-established businesses with a proven ability to deliver attractive returns - there is, at the same time, a consistently healthy debate on valuation."



Mega deals led the way in Q1 with 53% of proceeds generating from the top 4 deals alone. Additionally, 4 out of the top 10 IPOs - Aena, Tele Columbus, Wizz Air and Elis- resulted from companies that had publicly postponed their listings in 2014.


Viv Maclachlan, capital markets director at PwC, said:


“While the oil price crash has had a significant impact on exploration and development companies, it has also had a positive impact on companies who have significant energy input costs such as manufacturing, industrials and also logistics and airlines. In London, Wizz Air’s successful float early this year benefited both the positive impact of reacting to the Ukraine situation but also capitalised on the huge fall in fuel prices. ” 


PE backed exits continue to be a driver of activity, accounting for 63% of proceeds*. Seven of the top 10 IPOs in Europe were PE backed raising €6.9bn and 5 of the top 10 IPOs in the UK were PE backed in Q1 raising €3.1bn. Auto Trader, the used car marketplace, was the largest PE-backed IPO in the UK on record at €1.9bn (€2.2 including greenshoe). In contrast there have been well-publicised dual track processes with KKR’s purchase of Trainline at the beginning of the year and the acquisition of BCA by special purpose acquisition vehicle, Haversham Holdings.


Mark Hughes, head of UK capital markets and partner at PwC, said:


 “This was a stand-out quarter in terms of proceeds, especially in continental Europe and we expect activity to continue into the second quarter of this year. We expect one of the headline stories for the rest of 2015 to be large corporate spin offs on the back of the strong equity markets and mandatory divestitures of assets during the crisis. However, what the past few months have shown is that investors are testing valuations hard and issuers may look to alternative ways to realise value.”






 Notes to editors:


  1. IPO Watch Europe surveys all new primary market equity IPOs on Europe’s principal stock markets and market segments (including exchanges in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK) on a quarterly basis. Movements between markets on the same exchange are excluded.


  1. This survey was conducted between 1 January and 31 March 2015 and captures IPOs based on their first trading date. All market data is sourced from the stock markets themselves and has not been independently verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.


  1. * PE analysis only excludes IPOs raising less than $50m, closed-end funds, SPACs, SPVs, Capital Pool companies, Investment Managers, REITs, Royalty Trusts


About PwC


PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at


PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.




About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details. © 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

« Half of people would use a workplace smartwatch – PwC research | Homepage | PwC appoints new financial services risk assurance partner »

  • Contact us
  • +44 (0) 20 7213 1768

Specific and out of hours contacts