Allfunds soars on Amsterdam stock market debut

Shares in Allfunds climbed as much as 17 per cent on the Spanish fund distribution platform’s debut in Amsterdam, after its owners raised €1.9bn in one of Europe’s biggest initial public offerings this year.

The group, which helps connect fund management firms and products with investors, was valued at €7.2bn when it was priced at €11.50 per share on Euronext Amsterdam on Friday. Early trading pushed the shares as high as €13.65.

The listing in Amsterdam, ahead of Madrid, is a notable success for the Dutch capital as it becomes a larger player in the EU capital markets following the UK’s Brexit. The exchange has attracted a string of high-profile IPOs in recent months, including Polish ecommerce group InPost, which is now valued at €9.2bn.

The first-day pop contrasts with the disastrous debut of another of Europe’s biggest listings, food company Deliveroo, in London less than a month ago. Its shares lost nearly a third in value on the opening day as investors fretted over the management’s share of voting rights and a business model that made losses last year and relies on gig economy workers.

The Allfunds listing was a private placement to institutional investors, and the funds raised will go to its shareholders rather than to the company. Private equity group Hellman & Friedman and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC bought Allfunds from Santander and Intesa Sanpaolo in 2017 at a valuation of €1.8bn.

Allfunds runs an online marketplace for the investment industry, charging buyers, such as retail banks and wealth managers, to access the platform and sellers, such as asset managers like BlackRock, to offer products including mutual and exchange traded funds. It has more than €1.3tn in assets under administration, and works with more than 2,000 fund groups, according to its website.

Under private equity ownership, Allfunds has bulked up with acquisitions as the industry has consolidated. Among the purchases include Credit Suisse’s InvestLab funds platform, Nasdaq’s Nordic Fund Market, BNP Paribas’ Banca Corrispondente business in Italy and some of BNP’s fund distribution contracts. Credit Suisse and BNP own stakes in the company.

The group rebuffed approaches from several special purpose acquisition companies, which raise money on the stock market and hunt for a private company to take public, because the deals were too uncertain, according to a person familiar with the matter. It also drew interest from Deutsche Börse, the exchanges operator.

Unconditional trading is due to begin next week. About 26 per cent of the company’s share capital was sold in the offering. Underwriters have the option to sell an additional block of shares, which would increase the total deal size to about €2.2bn.

Euronext’s Amsterdam exchange became Europe’s third-largest venue for new proceeds last year behind the London Stock Exchange and Oslo Bors, according to a report from PwC. Its performance was in part due to the €2.6bn listing by JDE Peet’s, the coffee group.

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