Although the number of IPOs and bond offerings in Central and Eastern Europe over the past few years remained significantly lower than in Western Europe, the capital markets in CEE have been playing an increasingly important role in providing capital to local businesses and an exit strategy for selling shareholders.
The IPOs of Nova Ljubjanska Banka in Slovenia, Avast in the Czech Republic, and the Port of Tallinn in Estonia, as well as bond offerings in Lithuania, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, and Romania (to name just a few) constituted some of the biggest offerings in Europe targeted at local, regional, and international investors, and are testament to the significant potential of this region. The need for accessible and efficient capital markets is also universally recognised by local and EU regulators, investors, and market participants.
This guide sets out an overview of key requirements applicable to IPOs and bond offerings across the region and has been prepared in cooperation with experienced professionals recognised as key capital markets practitioners in each jurisdiction. Our intention is to provide a user-friendly summary of the main listing requirements and IPO/bond process, described in practical terms and presented in a consistent manner across all countries. In addition, the guide highlights ongoing reporting and compliance requirements as well as corporate governance rules applicable to public companies.
While we focus primarily on the countries of CEE, we have also included a UK chapter to serve as a point of reference and to summarize the IPO/bond offering process for those companies in the region wishing to list on the London Stock Exchange (as, indeed, a number have in recent years). In 2019, 30% of all European IPO proceeds were derived from the offerings on LSE, and despite Brexit and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the UK continues to be the most liquid market and the LSE the most active stock exchange in Europe.
Going public or issuing a public bond is never a straightforward decision or easy process for first-time issuers. Regardless of the chosen listing venue, full preparation, and an expected timeline, it is a long journey – but one which will hopefully pay off at the end. We hope that this guide will address some of the most important considerations, help issuers and offerors avoid the unexpected, and make the road less bumpy.