The amount raised in stock market flotations around the world this year is expected to break the 2007 record of US$300 billion, according to research from accountants Ernst & Young.
Asian companies are behind a surge in the number of floats. Britain and Europe have done better than last year, but account for only a tiny proportion of new activity because of fears about the future of the euro and the sovereign debt crisis, according to research from accountants Ernst & Young.
In the UK, the change of government, uncertainty over budget cuts and fears of a double dip recession have put off scores of companies from listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The biggest initial public offer (IPO) of new shares so far this year was in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where Agricultural Bank of China (中國農業銀行) raised US$22.1 billion, making it the biggest float in history. Agricultural was closely followed by AIA, an offshoot of American insurer AIG, which collected over US$20 billion after its IPO in Hong Kong.
Ernst & Young says that in the first 11 months of this year, 1,199 companies have raised US$255 billion with Chinese firms accounting for more than 45 percent of the value.
“The IPO market reflects the twin-track global economy with Europe and the US trailing Asia, where GDP is racing ahead. I think next year will be a similar story, with perhaps more action from Latin America, especially Brazil. South America has recovered less quickly from the recession than China and India, but is now rebounding strongly,” said David Wilkinson, UK IPO leader at Ernst & Young.
In Britain, 50 companies listed in London during the first 11 months of this year, up from seven in the whole of last year, raising US$10 billion.