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Bridgepoint’s blowout debut lifts markets as FTSE 100 recovers from Covid wobble

Rio Tinto
21 July 2021

irst-day dealings in the hotly anticipated Bridgepoint flotation produced a chunky private equity-style return today as investors seized on a rare opportunity in the buy-out sector.

Shares in the European mid-market specialist were set at a top-of-the-range 350p for a valuation of £2.9 billion, before surging more than 25% to 440p in conditional dealings.

Bridgepoint, the former private equity arm of NatWest, is set to bank £300 million from the listing as it builds a war chest for expansion in property and infrastructure.

Its debut has tapped into investor interest in the booming private equity market as US funds in particular snap up ever larger plcs, with Morrisons the latest in their takeover sights.

Bridgepoint is better known for buying and building smaller, usually privately-owned firms and has avoided the controversy attached to the sector. It joins a small band of stock market-listed buyout groups, which also include FTSE 100 firm 3i Group.

Its flotation was certainly well timed as confidence in the wider London market continues to recover after the pummelling on Monday. The FTSE 100 index was 1.5% higher, up 99.66 points at 6,981.26, as European markets followed up Wall Street’s overnight rebound in a strong session for re-opening stocks.

Rolls-Royce rallied 6.2p to 96.2p and British Airways owner IAG improved 9.8p to 170.2p, with the pair only beaten by Next after the retailer’s surprise update sent its shares surging 9%. Compass also improved 7.85p to 1,491p after analysts at Jefferies upped the catering group to a buy recommendation.

Mining stocks were also higher, despite China’s announcement that it plans to auction reserves of copper, aluminium, and zinc in a bid to ease price pressures.

The FTSE 250 index was 348.71 points higher 22,467.90 amid a flurry of interest in pandemic-hit stocks as Cineworld rebounded 10%, while transport stocks National Express and Trainline both gained 6%.

Digital publisher Future continues to impress after chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne further boosted profit forecasts due to a strong e-commerce performance.

Shares surged 8% to a fresh record at 3,462p. IT services company Computacenter was another to upgrade forecasts as its FTSE 250 shares gained 118p to 2,578p.