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Capital Markets

Equity: Get ready to catch the IPO wave

Priced to go, equity capital markets deals succeeded in the second quarter, recapitalizing banks and corporations alike to the tune of $274 billion. As risk appetite revives, the next step is IPOs. Financial sponsors won’t give them away. Peter Lee reports.

INVESTMENT BANKERS ARE earnestly debating the likely timing of a coming boom in initial public offerings. It shows just how strongly equity capital markets have recovered from the panic around the financial system and a dismal start to the year.

With issuers worldwide raising $274 billion, the second quarter of 2009 was the busiest for primary equity markets since the final quarter of 2007. It has been an eye-catching rebound, marked by record-breaking volume in US follow-on issues especially for banks, from a very slow first quarter when just $71 billion was raised globally.

The summer promises to be quieter as the secondary equity markets give back some of the gains recorded between March and early June, investors worry about the likely shape of economic recovery and the pace of new issues slackens over the holidays. But as companies announce earnings for the first half of the year, it is likely that many will also be unveiling plans for capital-raising. ECM bankers expect to be busy again soon and not just with rights issues placed at give-away discounts and other forms of cheap secondary offerings designed to repair companies’ capital structures.

In July, Goldman Sachs hosted a forum for executives of 60 private companies owned by financial sponsors, governments and entrepreneurs to address fund managers from more than 40 different institutional investors.

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