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Capital Markets

A measured revival for equities

After a totally barren 2003 and a hesitant 2004, Germany's primary equity market looks to be reviving. Bad memories of the dot-com crash and the generally weak equity culture mean there's no rush to market but much is expected of private-equity exits.

Lanxess IPO at the Börse: the
chemical company's successful
debut was a pleasant surprise

THE GERMAN STOCK market has ticked over under a pall of pessimism for nearly two years, but this year initial public offerings could revive, with several companies planning to come to market. Last year more companies cancelled listing plans than the handful that actually managed to sell their stock after slashing asking prices. However, with one successful IPO already under their belts bankers are expressing cautious optimism that this year will be better. Last year was dismal for issuers. Only six companies listed, raising a paltry €2 billion compared with 113 in London and 60 in France. Even Warsaw did better, with 16 IPOs raising €1.8 billion, the bulk coming from the sale of retail bank PKO. In 2003 the German market was so depressed there were no attempts to issue.

So investors were pleasantly surprised by chemical company Lanxess's successful debut this January. Demand for the shares was higher than expected, setting the tone, analysts hope, for between 10 and 30 IPOs slated for later this year.

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