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African IPOs set to rise by a quarter in 2015

Reuters , Friday 23 Jan 2015
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Views: 828

The number of African companies listing shares could rise by a quarter this year if all the firms that have said they plan an initial public offering (IPO) move ahead, international law firm Baker & McKenzie said.

Shares on many African bourses have offered enticing returns in the past five years, but investors have complained about a limited number of IPOs, high fees and poor liquidity.

Baker & McKenzie, a leading law firm by deal count for mergers and acquisitions involving emerging markets, said 30 firms were preparing to list this year, up from 24 in 2014.

Last year, the number of IPOs had already risen by a third to the highest level since the global financial crisis, raising a total of more than $2 billion.

Firms in the real estate, financial and energy sectors were expected to be most active and most new listings would be on markets in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia, the law firm said.

"While there have been several false dawns for capital markets across Africa's diverse economies and making predictions is notoriously difficult, we do see a more sustainable trend developing," Koen Vanhaerents, global head of capital markets at Baker & McKenzie, said in a report seen by Reuters on Friday.

Improved corporate governance, better regulation and expanding economies were creating a more sound footing for African capital markets, he said.

Some listings, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, would be driven by private equity exiting investments, the report added.

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