London IPO Activity Will Stay Subdued in Early 2019, EY Says

(Bloomberg) -- Listings on the London stock exchange are likely to remain subdued in early 2019 amid Brexit uncertainty, after falling in 2018, according to a report by consulting firm EY.

Last year 79 companies listed in London, raising a total of 9.5 billion pounds ($12.1 billion). That represented a 23 percent drop in capital from 2017, when 95 companies raised 12.4 billion pounds.

That trend could continue in the early part of this year, EY said.

“We expect Q1 2019 to be more subdued than normal as companies await the outcome of Brexit negotiations, meaning activity is likely to be weighted towards the second half of the year,” said Scott McCubbin, a partner at EY’s U.K. division.

Despite a drop in IPO activity for the year as a whole, the final three months of 2018 saw the highest number of quarterly listings on the main exchange since 2014, suggesting that companies may be attempting to avoid what is likely to be a tumultuous start to this year.

“The final quarter produced the highest number of main market listings in four years, which could be an indication that issuers had brought forward IPOs from 2019,” McCubbin said.

Aston Martin Lagonda Global, the iconic British carmaker, was the largest IPO in London last year, raising 1.1 billion pounds. Since going public, the stock has fallen more than 37 percent as of Friday, making it one of the worst-performing newly listed companies in Europe.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.