The fact is that some commentators say everything’s on the up – so rush out and hire some new hands, you might think. But hold on. Other reports, you sense, are written by glass-half-empty kind of people.
There is no need to take my word for it. Just look at the material that has been put out. Let’s start with a fairly good indicator – the Pricewater-houseCoopers IPO Watch Europe survey. Back at the beginning of April, the latest installment of this must-read market review said that the first three months of 2004 pointed to the fact that the IPO was well on the way to recovery. Europe witnessed 56 IPOs during the period – 39 of those (worth around £757m) took place in London.
Great news. And all you IPO experts out there should be revving up your engines because it sounded like 2004 would be a bumper crop. The list of companies declaring their IPO intentions was also inspiring. Sportswear manufacturer Umbro, Saatchi & Saatchi, Pinewood and Shepperton and Halfords all made the market suddenly look dynamic again.
The stability of the London stock market, plus the upward trend in market valuations, have both made flotation a more attractive option for raising funds. Add to that new rules that allow companies listed elsewhere in Europe to also list on AIM but at less expense and you have quite an optimistic picture.
But then Numis Corporation, the stockbroker and investment bank, decided to throw a spanner in the works. Chief executive Oliver Hemsley told The Times that ‘there is no frenzy as far as IPOs are concerned’.
It’s difficult to know whether Hemsley was concerned about his company’s market share of IPOs or whether he was taking a broader view. But for the keen observer, it poses the question: what is going on? I suspect we’ll have to wait for second-quarter figures to emerge before we know whether Hemsley is right.
The Financial Reporting Council has issued guidance regarding the annual reporting of 1,200 large and smaller listed companies. The letter highlighted the key issues and improvements that can be made in the 2016 reporting season
Baldwins Accountancy Group has continued investment in the north-east and appointed David Fish as a director in its corporate finance team
UK M&A activity bounced back strongly in July and August, according to analysis by the deals practice at PwC.
Smith & Williamson has added Jim Clark and Philip Marsden, of Marsden Clark Corporate Finance Limited, to its corporate finance team.