The high level of nervousness on the stock markets is also reflected in the number of new entries: the number and volume of IPOs fell dramatically in the first quarter, especially in America and Europe.

Although January saw an exceptionally strong start to the year, only 321 companies around the world went public in the first quarter year to date, consulting firm EY reported on Monday.

That is 37 percent less than in the same period last year.

The volume of these initial public offerings (IPO) fell even more sharply, falling by 51 percent to the equivalent of $54 billion.

Tim Kanning

Editor in Business.

  • Follow I follow

The figures show how much the growing tensions and finally the outbreak of war in Ukraine brought what was actually a good run to a standstill.

After a record IPO year in 2021, January marked the best start to the year in 21 years with international issuance volume of $32 billion 36 to $10 billion.

In March, it even dropped from $47 billion to $12 billion.

Issue volume shrinks by 94 percent

The slump was particularly severe in the United States: Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the number of IPOs fell from 100 to 25, and the issue volume even shrank by 94 percent from 42 to a good 2 billion dollars.

Large losses were also recorded in Europe: the number of IPOs almost halved from 89 to 47, the issue volume fell from 26 to almost 3 billion dollars.

The German head of the American bank JP Morgan, Stefan Povaly, told Bloomberg that the IPO market is currently closed because of the Ukraine war.

The investment bank is therefore currently trying to play through other options, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with German technology start-ups, for example: “Some are now thinking about M&A deals before a possible IPO.

Others are considering putting in a private round of financing in the meantime,” said Povaly.

"I can imagine that we will certainly see IPOs again this year, depending on how the geopolitical situation develops."

"Stock exchange plans postponed for the time being"

Martin Steinbach, partner and head of IPO and Listing Services at EY, is basically optimistic that the willingness to go public could increase again once the aggression in Eastern Europe subsides.

"The war in Ukraine and the massive increase in political and economic uncertainty meant that many companies have postponed their IPO plans for the first quarter for the time being," says Steinbach.