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London stock market falls out of top 20 in 2024 global IPO destination rankings — joint with Kazakhstan

European stocks have recovered some of last week’s losses, with London’s FTSE 100 climbing higher (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
European stocks have recovered some of last week’s losses, with London’s FTSE 100 climbing higher (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

The London Stock Exchange has today fallen out of the top 20 global IPO destinations of 2024, having raised only as much money as Kazakhstan's stock market, the Standard can reveal.

Data compiled by Mergermarket for the Evening Standard shows the London Stock Exchange main market languishing in joint-20th position for money raised by new floats in the first four months of the year. It has had only one float, raising just $119 million (£95 million).

That puts it behind much smaller exchanges like Istanbul, Athens and Oslo.

But with Charlotte Tilbury owner Puig selling its shares in Madrid today, London has dropped one more spot in the global leaderboard.


Many European exchanges struggled to attract new listings last year and the start of 2024. Activity picked up on the continent during the spring - with a string of recent high-profile European listings like private equity group CVC in Amsterdam and perfume retailer Douglas in Frankfurt - but the recovery has not come to these shores.

The lone IPO of 2024 was Air Astana's joint float between London and Kazakhstan’s stock exchanges in Astana and Almaty. That means London’s stock market has raised exactly as much as the 30-year-old Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, in the world's 54th-largest economy.

Including IPOs on the smaller AIM exchange would boost the amount raised in London a little, with floats such as Helix Exploration, and break the tie with Kazakhstan. But it would remain far down the rankings.

Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell, says many companies are hoping to IPO soon, but are waiting until after the election. But given the time it takes to actually list, the recovery may not happen “until 2025 at the earliest”.

Coatsworth said: “The London Stock Exchange already has a problem on its hands regarding the big IPO freeze and it won’t want to wait until next year for a solution.”

That freeze comes as a number of top quoted firms are fleeing the City - with some being taken over while others move their listings to the US - with the lack of floats meaning no new arrivals are replacing the leavers. Charles Hall, head of research at investment bank Peel Hunt, says both trends have the same cause: a lack of demand for London shares.

He said: “This should be of clear concern to government and policy makers as capital markets play a vital role in the UK economy.”

Some fear the London Stock Exchange’s owner, LSEG, doesn’t have enough of a financial incentive to fix the problem. The business made more than £7 billion in gross profit last year, but only 3% of that came from the exchange.

An LSEG spokesperson said: “LSEG is a leading global financial markets infrastructure provider offering services across the entire trade lifecycle. London Stock Exchange is an important part of the Group and it is wrong to suggest otherwise. All entities across the Group benefit from our diversified business model and strong balance sheet, enabling investment in growth and transformation.”

The business is hopeful for a rebound in IPO activity as new listing rules come into effect in the second half of the year.

The drought also appears to be creating a vicious cycle. C-level execs at two of London’s top fintechs, both tipped as 2024 IPO candidates, recently told the Standard that they wanted to see floats pick back up before they list here. Zilch chief technology officer Sean Hederman said that floating at this time is like “crossing a river with crocodiles on the attack” while Zopa finance boss Steve Hulme said the business wants to see a “steady stream” of new London listings first.

Hopes for an IPO revival in 2024 lie with Chinese online retail giant Shein, which is considering the UK for its long-awaited $50 billion float as rising US-China tensions make a US listing less appealing. But having not yet announced a destination, that IPO would still be months away at the earliest. And the business may not be welcomed by all, having come under fire for its labour practices and environmental impact.

Coatsworth said: “While there would be a lot of questions asked about its corporate governance, supply chain and accusations of intellectual property theft, Shein is such a big name in the world of retail that its mere presence on the London market could encourage others to look hard at the UK as a listing venue.”