Canada’s market for initial public offerings flourished in 2017 despite a drop in overall equity sales, as a lack of large transactions and fewer energy deals dragged down volumes.
Total Canadian equity and equity-linked issuances fell 22 percent to about C$39.7 billion ($31 billion) through Dec. 21, down from a record C$50.7 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Despite the decline, 2017 totals remained above the previous five-year average of about C$37.5 billion, the data show.
The totals may change as more deals are announced.
IPOs, meanwhile, topped 2016 volumes. The Toronto Stock Exchange saw a total of 11 listings by companies that raised at least $100 million apiece this year. Companies sold shares totaling $3.7 billion, the data show, the highest level of IPOs of that size since 2013 and a dramatic reversal from just two last year.
“We continue to the think the market will be relatively constructive as we look through 2018,” said Kirby Gavelin, head of equity capital markets at Royal Bank of Canada. “We may see some smaller transactions.”
Just five Canadian equity sales have raised more than C$1 billion this year, down from 10 in 2017. That’s partly due to a drop in large mergers and acquisitions involving Canadian companies, Gavelin said.
Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. raised C$1.75 billion in the largest Canadian IPO of the year and the only one to top $1 billion. The pipeline operator is trading down about 1.5 percent since its May debut. Luxury jacket maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc. held the best performing offering: its stock price has more than doubled since shares priced at C$17 apiece in March.
RBC, which worked on both the Kinder Morgan Canada and Canada Goose deals, took the top spot for managing Canadian equity sales in 2017, bumping Toronto-Dominion Bank’s TD Securities into second place. RBC arranged C$8.4 billion of deals and took almost 22 percent of market share, while TD Securities managed C$5.7 billion of transactions, the data show. Bank of Montreal was No. 3 with C$5.5 billion followed by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at C$3.2 billion.
Not all IPOs have performed well. Food chain Freshii Inc. has fallen almost 43 percent since its debut in January after scaling back growth expectations. Real-estate data firm Real Matters Inc. has plunged 23 percent since May after warning its revenue growth may slow.
In addition to fewer larger deals, equity market volumes were hit by a dearth of issuances by oil and gas explorers and producers, said Sante Corona, TD Securities’ head of equity capital markets. While energy offerings still made up the biggest share of Canadian equity volumes, their value fell to about C$12.1 billion in 2017 across 58 deals from C$25.2 billion across 82 deals a year earlier, the data show.
“The majority of that came from the energy infrastructure names,” Corona said. “The decline in new issuance from E&P companies was quite dramatic, which was directly related to commodity prices.”
If oil stabilizes above $60 a barrel, there will be a flurry of equity sales from E&P companies, said Peter Miller, head of equity capital markets at BMO Capital Markets. He also expects several IPOs next year from industrial services companies as well as real estate, alternative energy and base metals firms.
Onex Corp.-backed wood pellet manufacturer Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. looks set to be one of the first Canadian companies out of the gates in January after filing IPO documents this month.
Benoit Lauze, CIBC’s head of equity capital markets, said his bank is in discussions with about a dozen potential candidates that are either preparing to file an IPO or considering it.
“Market volatility remains close to its lowest level in 30 years, and this is very positive for new issuance,” Lauze said.
One thing banks will have to come to grips with is their attitude to newer industries such as cryptocurrency and marijuana, which are already gaining scale. Marijuana is expected to be legalized in Canada next summer.
“We, as a large institution, have to be very careful when we go into situations,” BMO’s Miller said. “I think the expectation is once it is legalized, there will be a lot more flow.”