Five South West companies float on stock market in 2021

Hundreds of millions of pounds were raised by South West companies listing on the stock exchange in 2021, a new report has found.

A total of five firms across the region announced initial public offerings (IPOs) or entry to the alternative investment market (AIM) last year.

According to the report by EY, among the largest IPOs in the fourth quarter of 2021 was Exeter-based and Life Science REIT, a real estate investment trust focused on UK life science properties, which raised £350m on AIM.

Other companies from the South West to float in 2021 include:

Gloucester-based cookware firm Procook which raised £39.7m from its IPO;

Tungsten West, the owner of Plymouth’s vast Hemerdon tungsten mine, which raised £39m on AIM;

Bristol-based Devolver Digital INC, which raised £191m on its AIM debut;

And Plymouth-based e-commerce firm CMO Group, which raised £45m on AIM.

Nationally, London had the most IPOs, with 121 – the highest since 2007 – raising total funds of £16.3bn.

EY’s latest market tracker, IPO Eye, found the UK’s main market continued to see a significant flow of IPOs in the fourth quarter of the year, with 17 IPOs raising £1.9bn, surpassing the 15 IPOs in Q3 (although Q3 proceeds were higher at £2.9bn).

AIM also saw activity, with a further 29 IPOs in Q4, raising £1bn, bringing total funds raised through IPOs in the quarter on both markets to £2.9bn. The financial services, real estate and software sectors contributed the largest IPOs in the quarter.

Follow-on activity reduced slightly in Q4 with existing issuers raising around £6.5bn, bringing the annual total to over £32.7bn, with the money raised from rights issues declining from the peaks seen in 2020 and early 2021.

Scott McCubbin, EY UKI IPO leader, said: “Last year was an exceptional year for the UK IPO market, with companies taking advantage of the open market to list in record numbers.”

Mr McCubbin said the outlook for 2022 was “much less certain” however, with inflationary pressures likely to lead to interest rate rises and a move towards bond markets with more attractive yields.

He added: “Supply chain issues and weaker consumer spending due to energy price rises also threatens market strength and may lead to a weaker equity market later in the year.”

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Hannah BakerSouth West Business Editor