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Pandemic means market can handle IPO wave

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By Aidan Gregory
13 Aug 2020

European equity capital markets are gearing up for a wave of autumn IPOs and are worrying that they will struggle for investor attention. But one of the few good things to have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic — the use of technology to accelerate deal calendars — should alleviate fears of congestion.

As lockdowns are lifted, physical meetings stand a chance of resuming, but deal roadshows look about as up-to-date as open outcry trading pits.

The pandemic scuttled many companies’ plans to go public in the first half of the year. What IPOs have been done, however, have been marketed without anyone having to set foot on a plane or shake hands. 

There is no doubt a bevy of listings ready to flood the market in September, and issuers and banks are naturally worried that investors will not be able to dedicate time to all of them. 

But the experience of the lockdown listers should give them cause for encouragement as they rush to bring deals before infection rates rise and the US presidential election in November.

Almost the entire market has been seamlessly working from home for months, so it is absurd to think that there is a need to go back to the old, inefficient IPO process with its wasteful, exhausting and carbon-heavy roadshows. It is proven that all of the meetings that were done in person, and more besides, can now be done virtually.

Less time being stuck in traffic or hanging around in airport lounges just for a one-on-one meeting means more time to do what everyone in the market loves to see get done — more deals.

By Aidan Gregory
13 Aug 2020