London cashes in as listings net over £10bn

The number of businesses braving the London stock market more than quadrupled this year amid a revival for company listings, figures yesterday revealed.

More stable market conditions led to 89 initial public offerings (IPOs) over the past 12 months, up from just 22 in 2009.

The London Stock Exchange said firms raised a collective 10.1 billion through the flotations against 1.5bn the year before when the recession hit investor appetite for IPOs.

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This year has seen a swathe of firms joining the LSE, including online grocery delivery service Ocado, Superdry fashion label parent SuperGroup and more recently Betfair, the world's largest international online sports betting provider.

In July, Essar Energy - one of India's top private sector energy firms - also listed, raising some 1.3bn and marking the largest ever Indian IPO in London.

Tracey Pierce, director of equity primary markets at the LSE, said: "We have seen a rejuvenation in the IPO market during 2010. Whilst last year our markets supported a significant amount of fundraising through further issues, 2010 injected some very positive signs of life into the new issues market, including a number of major wins for London."

But not all this year's IPOs have been an immediate success in a sign that investors are still wary.

Ocado listed in July with a significant amount of fanfare, but major doubts over its value saw the launch price slashed to 180p and it lost 10 per cent on the first day of dealings. Despite recent takeover speculation, Ocado shares are still trading below their debut price.

In 2010, 46 firms floated on the main London market while 43 listed on the junior Alternative Investment Market, including ScotGold Resources and Edinburgh-based Easydate.

Wider market conditions have stabilised this year as the global recovery has got under way, with the FTSE 100 index up about 11 per cent this year.

Higher oil and metal prices are also expected to lead to increased investor appetite for commodity related stock market flotations in 2011.