For months now the message on Bay Street has been the same: a slew of Canadian companies are looking to go public, but the markets are just too rocky to pull the trigger.
It’s been said so much, and for so long, that it’s only human to start wondering whether there’s ever going to be a right time to go public. The last major Canadian IPO was for Dundee International REIT , and that closed way back in July, 2011. That means it’s been more than six months since the Canadian market has seen a substantial new offering. (This excludes Element Financial Corp. , which was a unique case, as well as the Mint's gold fund offering, which wasn't a typical corporate IPO.)
Since mid-December, however, the S&P/TSX Composite Index has rallied, making you wonder whether confidence is starting to build again. According to bankers, the answer is no.
There are still big fears that investor appetite just isn’t there. The market saw a rise like the one that just played out back in October, when the TSX jumped from 11,200 to 12,500, but all hopes faded when the index plummeted to 11,500 less than a month later.
No one knows for sure whether the market is on a healthy road to recovery this time, or whether investors are simply expressing some wishful thinking again. And even if this turns into a sustained rally, one banker noted that IPOs are always the last market to come around.
Timing is also part of the problem. Nothing got done in December because the holidays were approaching, and it’s also rare to see IPOs in January because some firms wait on their year-end results before they file in, say, February. (Still, it was one year ago today that Bauer Performance Sports filed its IPO, so it can be done.)
If we are going to see any IPOs any time soon, the word is that they’re likely to come from more established names and will either be tied to yield or resources. Investors still love their stable income streams, and oil has been particularly strong in an otherwise shaky market.