Citi Unseats Goldman as Top IPO Bank in Europe After 18 Years

Citigroup Inc. tops this year’s ranking for initial public offerings in Europe for the first time since 2002, after bringing big technology listings to market, from Kazakhstan to Poland and the U.K.

Following three consecutive years in second place, Citi pushed past last year’s winner Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Bloomberg’s IPO league table for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Goldman Sachs continues to top rankings for overall equity fundraising in the region, including follow-on offerings and listings.

“It has been a very unique year for the market,” said Suneel Hargunani, co-head of equity capital markets for EMEA at Citi. Growth-oriented IPOs have come alongside rescue rights offerings, record equity-linked issuance and special purpose acquisition companies, which are becoming more important, he said.

The bank led some of the biggest deals in 2020, like the IPOs of online shopping emporium THG Holdings Plc and digital savings platform Nordnet AB.

IPO BookrunnerDealsVolume ($m)Table Share (%)
Goldman Sachs81,9146.4
Morgan Stanley91,4975
BofA Securities121,4774.9
ABG Sundal Collier161,0923.6

The surge in activity has led to a 35%-40% rise in the global fee pool, according to Eric Li, research director at data firm Coalition Development Ltd. Along with an earnings boost from debt capital markets, this has helped offset declines in mergers and acquisitions, pushing up investment banking takings on the whole by 10%-15%, he said.

Citi owes much of its pole position to growth and tech listings from various regions. Aside from THG Holdings Plc’s $2.4 billion London IPO and Nordnet AB’‘s $1.1 billion share sale in Stockholm, the U.S. bank worked on Polish online retailer SA’s $2.8 billion offering and the $870 million London listing of Kazakh digital bank JSC.

Next year is already shaping up to be a busy one for the bank and its rivals. “We have a strong pipeline for 2021 and are expecting a very busy January,” Hargunani said. “There are no signs of fatigue and there won’t be as long as quality deals come to market, price reasonably and trade well.”

Home Turf Gains

Wall Street banks continued to dominate in Europe, taking the top six places in the IPO table, though local firms made headway. Perhaps the biggest surprise came from Nordic banks, with Norway’s ABG Sundal Collier ASA and Sweden’s Carnegie AB leaping 47 and 29 spots from last year’s finish, the most of any top 10 bookrunner.

Nordic exchanges, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, have welcomed more new companies this year than anywhere else in Europe. This deals deluge boosted Carnegie’s market share more than fivefold, while driving up ABG’s to almost 23 times the level in 2019, the data show.

In the U.K., Europe’s biggest market, Barclays Plc clinched the top spot for stock offerings, including cash calls and listings, for the first time this decade, the data show.

Barclays stepped in, particularly in the first half, when U.K. firms needed cash, said Tom Johnson, the bank’s head of equity capital markets in EMEA. “A large number of companies we have relationship with across the investment bank and the corporate bank were in a very difficult position around liquidity, and they turned to us as a key partner.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit some of these clients hard, Barclays converted its front-row seat with businesses like catering firms Compass Group Plc, SSP Group Plc and retailer WH Smith Plc into a position on their equity fundraising deals.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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