Last year, EY has said that North American oil and gas IPO activity has continued to rise as master limited partnerships (MLPs) accounted for nearly half of the overall deals during 2014. As of early December, EY said that 24 North American oil and gas IPOs had raised US$13.371 million during 2014, a 14% rise in volume and a 26% increase in value compared to the previous year. This was reported in ‘EY Global IPO Trends: 2014 Q4.’
Greg Matlock, MLP Leader, Ernst & Young LLP, USA, said, “more and more private equity backed exists have been a key driver in the amount of IPO activity in the US as financial sponsors look to exit investments. Overall, oil and gas companies coming to the public markets continue to be well led, and well priced with a good story to tell. This is attracting solid investor interest, both from domestic and non-US investors.”
When it comes to North American IPOs, last year there were 11 MLPs which raised a collective US$ 5.145 million. This is a slight decrease in both the number and proceeds of North American oil and gas MLPs from 2015. However, overall 2014 MLP IPO count was close to 2013 numbers, the result of continued market interest in the MLP product.
Matlock continued, “with interest rates at persistently low levels, MLPs remain an attractive option. Many oil and gas MLPs in 2014 outpaced and outperformed expectations and were welcomed with opened arms from investors. Further, increased interest in other growth and yield based investment vehicles like the ‘YieldCo’ structure and the ‘non-US MLP’ structure have driven interest in the sector of accessing the public markets.”
Popularity of MLPs
In the energy sector in particular, the prominence of MLPs has mirrored the rapid growth in domestic energy production. Since January 2013, over 30 new MLPs have entered into the market, bringing the total number of publicly traded energy MLPs to more than 120, with more in various stages of consideration. Last year, a total of 11 North American oil and gas MLP offerings generated proceeds of US$5.145 million. 2014 also saw two notable movements in the space: the largest MLP IPOs ever as well as the mega merger of one of the MLP pioneers, Kinder Morgan, in August.
EY has said that the dramatic fall in oil prices, which have traded at five year lows earlier this week, adds uncertainty to IPO conversations for 2015. Matlock concluded, “oil prices are particularly impactful because of how they influence the market and the valuation of certain companies looking to go public. That being said, the 2015 MLP markets are expected to continue to be strong. Suppressed oil prices may continue to inject volatility in public stock prices, which may push IPOs back in the year, but given the investors’ thirst for yield and focus on long term growth, we still expect to see a relatively good market. This also may present an opportunity for non-oil and gas MLPs to thrive in a potentially volatile oil and gas market.”
Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd