UK equity sales top £10bn since pandemic struck

At least 69 companies have issued equity valued at £5m or more since the middle of March

UK-listed companies have tapped shareholders for more than £10bn since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, with some looking to top up acquisition war chests and others raising emergency funds to ride out the deepest recession for centuries.
 
At least 69 companies have issued equity valued at £5m or more since the middle of March for pandemic-related reasons, raising £10.5bn in total, according to data
compiled by analysts at Peel Hunt. A total of £2.8bn of equity was raised by 14 companies in the past fortnight alone, with gambling group Flutter Entertainment issuing stock worth £813m to take advantage of “opportunities” caused by turmoil and expand its US business.

The coronavirus pandemic sent markets plunging in March, though equities around the world have rebounded at a speed that has confounded some analysts. In the UK and elsewhere, companies in some of the worst-hit sectors, such as travel and leisure, moved quickly to issue new shares to shore up their balance sheets as sales plummeted.
 
Jonathan Parry, a partner in law firm White & Case’s capital markets group, said that when the crisis hit, a series of planned initial public offerings were shelved and “we flipped quite quickly into equity raisings”.
 

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