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A growing number of Jersey-registered companies have been welcomed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges recently


from a source close to Moneybookers attempted to put a positive spin on the story. “Early responses to the IPO were


positive – it was a rare opportunity to invest in European internet,” the source told the Daily Telegraph. “But then the IPO was hit by the perfect storm: Edwards was pulled, other IPOs traded badly and all of that came against the backdrop of unrest in the Middle East and the troubles following the tsunami in Japan. This wasn’t about the company; it was all about the timing.” To put this in some context, London saw 268 IPOs in 2007 (both main market and AIM).


In 2008 that fell to 72, and as the first effects of the financial crisis began to be felt, reached an all time low of 21 in 2009. In 2010 there was a significant bounceback to 94, but figures fell again in 2011 with only 76 successful IPOs on the London markets.


A difficult market “Last year was a difficult year to get anything away,” confirms Mike Jeffrey, Corporate Finance Partner at Carey Olsen. “Investor appetite was down on where it had been previously. Everybody knows that London markets had a terrible year or two, compared


to what they were doing back in 2008, before things changed so drastically.” There are a number of reasons for this


serious slowdown in activity: some obvious, others less so. “People talk about markets and banks and hedge funds as though they are an entirely separate world,” says Nick Harriss, Director of Corporate Finance at Allenby Capital. “But they’re all run by people, and are affected by the same emotional issues that affect us all. As much as they claim to be entirely rational, they’re not.” In Harriss’s view, the fundamental problem remains one of confidence. Businesses need to


February/March 2012 businesslife.co 33





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