Alfa Financial (LON: ALFA), a software provider for the asset finance industry, has begun trading on the London Stock Exchange. Shares were initially offered at 325p each on Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of £975 million and making it one of London's largest tech IPOs in recent years.
The listing follows a dry spell for flotations in London. Vista Equity Partners-backed banking software provider Misys attempted to list last October, but had to can the idea due to weak demand and uncertainty. This followed a period where the FTSE 250 Index fell from over 18,000 in May 2015 to around 15,400 the following February.
The appetite of UK companies coming to market reflects this, with the number of British businesses completing an IPO
falling sharply since 2014, per PitchBook data.
Completed IPOs of UK companies since 2012
London, however, is still home to global investors who have deep pools of cash looking for attractive assets to invest in, be they large entities or VC-backed startups. Recent reports, such as the possible $2 billion flotation later this year of hydro-power and aluminum producer En+ Group, as well as Global Ports Holdings' decision
to list in the UK, are only likely to fuel investor appetite.
It might be too early for jubilation, but Alfa’s successful listing could well mark a turnaround and send a signal to VC, PE and institutional investors that London remains—for now—Europe’s financial capital for public exits.