Corporate law firm tops IPO league table after Aussie’s strongest first half since GFC

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During the first half of 2014 independent corporate law firm Gilbert + Tobin has led the large end of the Australian IPO market and has advised issuers on more IPOs, for a greater value, than any other firm.

These results were revealed in the release of Bloomberg’s IPO issuer advisor league tables.

Peter Cook, partner in Gilbert + Tobin’s corporate advisory group and head of the ECM team, says the strong start to the year reflects the uptick in the market, which Thomson Reuters said produced “the highest first half proceeds since 2007”.

“I think there has been a lot of pent-up demand because the markets have been closed for quite a number of years now,” he told Australasian Lawyer. “It opened up last year in June, and since then it’s been a rush to the markets.”

He expects to see less IPO floats in the second half of this year, but purely because “all the obvious ones have been done”.  Apart from that, the growth will be sustainable, but may even out, he says.

After such a rush, institutions are likely to become more picky and choosy about where they are going to put their money.

“I think there is confidence in the market – we haven’t had a rush of IPOs that have been unsuccessful or traded down. I think we’ll see the market being open… but with a greater focus on the quality of the assets and by number they will be less,” Cook says.

The IPO growth proffers good opportunities for law firms that play in the space, especially those that have strong capital markets, corporate, M&A and private equity practices.

Cook puts Gilbert + Tobin’s recent success in the IPO sector down to its “strong” capital markets and M&A team, great clients and “a bit of luck as well”.

“Overall we are very focused on this area,” he says.

Gilbert + Tobin advised Spotless Group Holdings Limited on its A$1.8 billion IPO, the largest IPO on the Australian Stock exchange for the first half of the year, Mantra Group on its A$449 million IPO; Burson Group on its A$298 million IPO and Metro Performance Glass Limited on its A$314.6 million IPO.

The firm also advised the underwriters/joint lead managers on Healthscope Group’s IPO, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited’s A$1.7 billion IPO, and SG Fleets A$449 million IPO - among others.

Its corporate advisory team has also appeared in the Australian M&A market league tables, ranking third by value of announced deals and fourth by number of announced deals in the region, according to Thomson Reuters.

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