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The latest market newcomer show there’s still life in London’s IPO pipeline
Thursday 24 Jun 2021 Author: James Crux

Despite the likes of Marex Spectron, Tungsten West and Elcogen postponing proposed flotations, there are still signs of life in London’s new listings market.

Payments app Wise is planning a so-called direct listing that could value the company at £9 billion, while online bathroom products retailer Victorian Plumbing (VIC:AIM) arrived on AIM (22 June) with a starting tag of £850 million, the biggest debut market cap the junior exchange has ever seen.


Spotify, Slack and Roblox have shown direct listings can work successfully in the US, but Wise is seeking the first direct listing of a technology company on the London Stock Exchange.

Direct listings have been around on the London market for quite some time and are better known as introductions, differing from an initial public offering in that the company joins the stock market without raising any capital.

Wise doesn’t need to raise any fresh funds and has been profitable since 2017, but pursuing a direct listing will raise the company’s profile and provide the opportunity for the payments play to strengthen relationships with customers and enable them to become shareholders.

Having a dual class share structure however means Wise won’t qualify for the FTSE indices. Being in the FTSE 250 or FTSE 100 is considered a badge of honour for businesses, so that is a missed opportunity for the company.

Wise’s pre-tax profits more than doubled to £41 million in the year to March 2021 and the payments app says it serves 10 million customers worldwide and sends over £5 billion across borders each month, saving customers over £1 billion a year compared to these transactions being made with a bank.

Guided by founder and CEO Mark Radcliffe, Victorian Plumbing enjoyed a strong market debut after raising £11.6 million of fresh funding at 262p, investors evidently enthused by the potential of the company.

Victorian Plumbing has grown far more rapidly than its competitors to become the UK’s leading online specialist bathroom brand by revenue in 2020 according to Mintel and the country’s second largest retailer of bathroom products with an estimated 14.2% of the bathroom market by sales in 2020.

Other firms planning to go public include digital transformation services company Silverbullet and another set to test investors’ appetites is Seraphine, the posh maternity-to-nursing wear brand whose revenue grew at a compound annual growth rate of 22% between the 2014 and 2021 financial years, driven by expansion into new geographies and the rapid growth of its own digital platform.

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