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European IPO market has strongest start to year since 1970s

[LONDON] Companies listing on European stock markets for the first time have raised a total of US$3.8 billion so far in 2015, the largest sum at this stage of the year since Thomson Reuters started compiling the data in the 1970s.

Sixteen companies have conducted initial public offerings (IPOs) so far this year, the most listings for any comparable period since 2006.

Nine debuted this week alone, the most for any week since June 2014 - itself a highpoint in last year's US$65 billion bonanza for European listings.

While 2014 was a strong one for flotations, a series of high-profile listings were pulled in the last quarter as bankers cited IPO saturation and stumbling stock prices.

However, the industry saw good prospects going into the new year, and it seems the optimism has paid off.

The IPOs so far this year have raised 57 per cent more than new issues in the same period last year, with healthcare companies a standout. Five of this year's sixteen debutantes were in the sector, while three were food and beverage firms.

In the year's most lucrative debut so far, Swiss telecoms company Sunrise Communications AG raised US$2.2 billion in its Friday listing on the Swiss Stock Exchange.