Listing in a listless market

Investor appetite for niche names could be new ECM litmus test amid pandemic

Looking to raise billions via an IPO? Well, you could be out of luck for some time, but smaller players with less onerous ambitions and a niche offering - such as WiMi Holdings and Tycoon Group - may buck the depressing trend.

Asian primary equity markets closed the first quarter of 2020 having completed more than $18 billion in IPO deals, according to Bloomberg data. While almost double the amount during the same three-month period a year earlier, the momentum was lost in March when secondary markets fell into a tailspin. To place into context, during the final quarter of 2019 Asia raised $51 billion.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent standstill in global economic activity, the deal outlook for the remainder of the year is grim. With multinationals preferring to utilise credit facilities and financial institutions like European banks planning to scrap dividend payments to shareholders, equity fundraising is far...

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