There was a marked deterioration in the initial public offering (IPO) market in 2023, with just 32 listings for the whole year. This was the lowest number of annual listings measured by HLB Mann Judd, since it started the IPO Watch Australia Report in 2004. The slowdown of listings started in the second half of 2022 and continued throughout 2023. The macroeconomic and geopolitical environment both globally and in Australia, including high inflation and rising capital costs, presented significant challenges for most companies seeking to list.
The 2024 IPO Watch Australia Report includes commentary and data analysis on share price performance, sector analysis, IPO subscription rates, a review of activity by quarter and the market outlook for the remainder of the year.
* Large cap companies are defined as those with a market capitalisation in excess of $100 million. Small cap, companies are defined as those with a market capitalisation of $100 million or less. All data excludes property trusts.
By mid-January 2024, there were five upcoming listings registered with the ASX, half the number as at the same time last year. The proposed new entrants are seeking to raise $35 million compared to $118.5 million at the same time last year.
Companies looking to list in 2024 will hope that the improved market sentiment reflected in the ASX All Ordinaries Index, which rose 8% in 2023, will contribute to a more conducive environment for new listings during the year.
There have already been two new market entrants in 2024, both of which are in mining and exploration. In addition, mining and exploration accounts for four of the five upcoming listings. Climate change targets, the shift toward green energy and electric vehicle batteries are key drivers and those proceeding with listings this year are largely focused on exploring resources like lithium and rare earths.
The low number of listings was relatively evenly spread throughout the year. The March, September and December quarters each recorded nine listings.
The June quarter saw the lowest number of listings, with five IPOs. The September quarter saw the highest amount raised, representing 56% of the total funds raised for the year. In terms of small cap listings, the March quarter raised the highest amount on average, at $8.76 million per listing.
Seven sectors recorded new entrants in 2023, however there were only three sectors that welcomed more than one entrant. The Materials sector contributed 23 listings and continues to dominate the Australian market. New Materials listings accounted for 72% of all new listings in the year.
In 2022, Materials also made up 72% of all new listings.
Subscription rates improved in 2023 from the prior year, with 29 of 32 listings (91%) achieving their total funds sought. In 2022, 70% of listings achieved their subscription target. In the last five years, only 2020 achieved a higher percentage of new market entrants meeting their subscription target, at 93%.
Despite the record low number of IPOs in 2023, the generally high level of subscription rates reflects solid bookbuilds and levels of underwriting against the challenging environment for new listings.
18 new market entrants enjoyed a first day gain above listing price. This represents 56% of the total new listings in the year. The largest first day gain was Pioneer Lithium Limited (ASX: PLN), which closed 80% higher than its IPO issue price.
61% of Materials listings recorded a first day gain, however only 22% of listings maintained a gain by year end. Materials companies were dependent upon positive announcements to generate value as opposed to having the backdrop of a supportive general market environment.
First published in 2004, IPO Watch Australia is a benchmarking-based report. The research analyses Australian listing activity. The primary report is released in January, and it explores IPO activity over the previous 12-month period. The Mid-Year Report is a short-form report published in July and it focuses on market activity for the first six months of the year. The reports are authored by Marcus Ohm, a corporate & audit services partner from HLB Mann Judd Perth.
About HLB Mann Judd
We are an association of award-winning accounting and advisory firms in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Our firms currently audit over 6% of all ASX-listed companies and 10% of all ASX-listed resources companies in Australia. In addition to audit-related services, HLB Mann Judd provides a broad range of advisory and tax services. We can assist with the preparation for an IPO and in evaluating the benefits of an IPO against alternative strategic options.