The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) last year hit an all-time low of 31, down 20 percent from 39 in 2019, as some firms were hesitant to make their debut on the local stock market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday.
Last year’s count was even lower than 55 IPOs in 2008 and 50 in 2009, when the domestic capital markets were buffeted by the global financial crisis.
The 31 IPOs raised NT$14.68 billion (US$51.66 million), down 47 percent from NT$28 billion in 2019, the commission said.
Twelve companies last year postponed their IPOs after gaining regulatory approval to debut in Taiwan — six on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) and six on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX), Securities and Futures Bureau Chief Secretary Kuo Chia-chun (郭佳君) told a news conference, blaming adverse market conditions under the pandemic.
Forty companies last year submitted IPO applications to the TWSE and the TPEX, missing the FSC’s target of 52, as the pandemic damaged balance sheets and made them no longer qualified to go public, Kuo said.
Tigerair Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航), a low-cost carrier subsidiary of China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), had planned last year to shift its shares from the TPEX to the TWSE, but border controls seriously curtailed air travel, leading to deteriorating financial performance at the carrier, she said.
The commission is aiming for a total of 45 IPO applications this year, Kuo said.
Because of COVID-19, the number of IPOs around the world last year significantly dropped, with IPO activity falling 23 percent in South Korea and 13 percent in Hong Kong, she said.
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