2Q Financial Markets Review

Europe: Just wait 'til 2002

It is notoriously difficult to predict the course of the financial markets, but with half the year over, European market watchers polled by BioCentury last December are proving remarkably accurate: 2001 is on track to be the second best financing year ever for Europe, with particular strength in venture rounds. But the IPO market is remarkably weak - in fact the weakest since 1995. If the prognosticators continue to be correct, most of the 20-plus companies hoping to go public this year will have to wait.

Only four European companies have gone public this year, raising a mere $80.7 million. While it would be unfair to compare this to the $901.2 million raised by 13 companies in the first half of 2000, in the previous three years (1997-99), European companies raised an average of $209 million in the first six months (see "The European Funding Cycle," A8).