It was not a good year for initial public offerings except for Fitbit (FIT) and GoDaddy (GDDY) , according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. In 2015, just $30 billion was raised from IPOs, a six-year low.
"It was certainly a disappointment, but we were up against a really big year in 2014," said Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, which manages exchange-traded funds that track IPOs.
Technology IPO activity was at its lowest level since 2009, according to the data, with only 23 tech companies going public in 2015, raising just $4.2 billion. That represents an 87% drop in proceeds from the prior year.
The slide in oil prices also resulted in a sharp drop in energy offerings, but health care was a standout sector. Forty-six percent of the IPOs this year were in health care, with biotech particularly strong. "The amount of issuance in biotech in 2015 was unprecedented. We don't expect that to continue," said Smith, who explained that investors have become more averse to risk.
For the companies that did go public, their average first day pop in trading was 16% above their offer price. That was the good news. The bad news is as the year wraps up 58% of IPOs have traded below their offering price. Smith said the initial public offerings that came to the market in the fourth quarter are actually faring better in terms of gains, which is a good sign.
"Going into 2016, we expect if deals are priced reasonably, as they had been in the fourth quarter, we expect to see some good returns," said Smith. At year's end, the IPO pipeline includes 110 companies looking to raise $26 billion, according to Renaissance Capital. Albertsons, Neiman Marcus and McGraw-Hill Education are among those that have filed to go public.