Europe saw IPO recovery last year

2004 saw the first increase in IPOs after three years of decline, according to a report published by VentureOne.

Thirty-four venture-backed companies raised a total of €712 million ($930 million) through IPOs in Europe last year, according to the Q4'04 European Liquidity Report from VentureOne.
The report showed that 2004 was a significant improvement on 2003, which saw only nine IPOs raise a total of €192 million. There was also an increase in the valuation of companies, with the median pre-money valuation €39.5 million and median equity financing €13.6 million. This compares with a median valuation of €26.9 million and median financing of €13.3 million in 2003.
Last year also had the highest level of venture-backed IPO activity since 2000, which saw 178 IPOs raise €11.8 billion. The European trend was mirrored in the US, which saw 67 IPOs – 'the highest amount since the bubble years,' according to VentureOne's director of international research Steve Harmston.
The report found that the average time taken for a company to get from funding to flotation had increased from 3.4 years in 2003 to 4.3 years in 2004. “This shows that European investors are still focused on portfolio companies that were initially financed during the bubble years of 1999 and 2000,” Harmston added. “Some 47 percent of the companies that reached IPO this year were initially financed during that period.”
The most active sector was IT, with 17 companies floating, followed by healthcare, with 11. The year's largest deals included flat-panel display technology developer Cambridge Display Technology, which was valued at  €195.5 million; and surgical device maker Inion, valued at €130.5 million.
The UK saw the most activity, with 23 IPOs raising a total of €409 million; while Norway was the second most-active, with five raising a total of €46 million.