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Before launching into our predictions for 2024, we want to briefly revisit some of our 2023 predictions:

  • while the IPO market did not pick up as much as expected from mid to late 2023, we did see an increase in large secondary raisings in that period with Orora, Infratil, Treasury Wine Estates and APA all undertaking transactions;
  • climate change and ESG disclosures not only remained important, they became even more important. See Regulatory developments in relation to ASIC’s interventions on greenwashing and Key US securities developments in relation to US securities laws’ continued ESG focus;
  • while large minerals IPOs were not as prominent as expected the materials sector contributed a significant percentage of IPOs by number (see 2023: IPOs by the numbers) and as noted in Resources deals, resources transactions continue to play a significant role in Australian capital markets; and
  • pre-IPO rounds did continue to play an important part in private company funding, albeit with a less clear pathway to eventual IPOs, and with more cautious investors meaning that tech companies and growth orientated private companies often had to find alternative funding including from private equity.

2024: Predictions


While predicting any market is hard, predicting the IPO market is harder, however, we consider that on the IPO front there is both pent up supply (from vendors and founders) and pent up demand (from investors who want access to new investments). However, our sense is that both sides remain a bit wary, with vendors and founders worried about pricing and market reception, and investors possibly more comfortable with investing in listed stocks which are a known quantity. If the inflation and interest rate cycles start to ease as seems to generally be expected and geopolitical concerns subside, we expect that some of the larger and high profile predicted IPOs of the past few years will be dusted off (in particular given the current general buoyancy of the market). Our feel is that an IPO that is successful (for both investors and the vendor(s)), will likely release the pent up demand discussed above. As we have noted before, this means that IPO companies and their investors should be prepared as the window may open suddenly.

If this occurs, we expect that the window for these IPOs is likely to be the September to November window.

Secondary markets

Similar for IPOs, if the inflation and interest rate cycles start to ease or at least the perception of that easing within a reasonable time continues, and geopolitical concerns subside we expect to see more activity this year in secondary markets:

  • in support of M&A - we see capital raisings to fund M&A such as those by Orora, APA and Treasury Wine Estates in the back half of 2023 and Metcash1 in early 2024 as the start of a continuing trend for capital markets to be open to support good quality M&A. On the M&A front, we expect that there may be greater opportunities in 2024 for established listed companies to acquire targets that may themselves have been proposed for IPOs or which need funding which is less available from private markets; and
  • in support of balance sheets and right sizing capital structures - while many listed company balance sheets are in good condition,  debt remains expensive (and this is not likely to be immediately resolved by reduced inflation and interest rates) and shareholders may have a concern about leverage. This means that companies may need to raise capital or look at asset disposals. Some of those companies may prefer to retain their assets and raise capital. Also, there will be some companies where the more difficult economic conditions which are triggering the predicted lower inflationary and interest rate environment mean that they need to raise capital simply to restore the balance sheet.

While the broader resources industries may provide candidates for both categories of capital raising, we expect that these type of secondary raisings will occur across industries. 

Private capital

We expect that traditional private equity and the broader universe of private capital (for example, sovereign wealth funds and superannuation funds) will provide opportunities and challenges for public capital market transactions. Both types of private capital may be vendors through an IPO process or if they are not satisfied with an IPO exit may sell their IPO candidates to other private investors. However, they may also sell those assets to listed companies that may need to raise capital to support the acquisition. 

Private capital may also be buyers from the public markets, either for the whole of a listed company or some of its assets, which may subdue capital raising transactions.

The continuing growth of private capital in all of its guises is likely to have a significant influence over public market capital transactions.

Attractiveness of ASX to foreign companies

In addition to innovative transactions such as the Chemist Warehouse and Light & Wonder examples considered earlier in this review, we consider that as capital markets and general economic conditions become more stable, the attractiveness of ASX as a regional capital market will continue. The regulatory sophistication and quality of ASX, the depth of capital available in Australia to participate in public markets, the breadth of industries listed on ASX and the ability to quickly and efficiently undertake secondary raisings make ASX an attractive market for foreign companies looking to list. If the IPO market cracks open even a little, we expect that foreign companies should provide a good source of transactions for ASX.

Similar to IPOs, if the inflation and interest rate cycles start to ease or at least the perception of that easing within a reasonable time continues, and geopolitical concerns subside we expect to see more activity this year in secondary markets.

Turning tides:

Australian ECM Review 2023

Key contacts

Tim McEwen photo

Tim McEwen

Partner, Melbourne

Tim McEwen
Michael Ziegelaar photo

Michael Ziegelaar

Partner, Melbourne

Michael Ziegelaar

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