UK’s Hunt Gathers Executives to Pitch for London Listings

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will meet business executives at his grace-and-favor residence in leafy Buckinghamshire on Thursday as he tries to secure more company listings in the UK.

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CEOs from sectors including tech, fintech and retail have been invited to Dorneywood, an 18th-century country home west of London used by senior government officials, according to a person familiar with the matter. Starling Bank Ltd’s incoming CEO Raman Bhatia and the boss of SoftBank-backed digital lender Zopa Bank Ltd. will be among those at the event, people with knowledge of the attendees said separately.

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The summit comes against the backdrop of London falling behind in this year’s IPO revival in Europe, which includes skin-care firm Galderma Group AG in Switzerland, Spanish beauty and fragrance group Puig Brands SA and CVC Capital Partners Plc in the Netherlands. The London Stock Exchange has accounted for just over 2% of the $12 billion raised in IPOs in Europe this year, the lowest share in decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hunt has been concerned about the state of UK equity markets after years of outflows, and has taken measures such as encouraging pension funds to boost allocations to British stocks and also weighing a British ISA.

The Chancellor was given a boost on Wednesday when personal computer maker Raspberry Pi said it is considering an initial public offering in London, which would be the first sizable listing for the city since February.

Fast fashion label Shein is also considering a London listing after its plans for an IPO in New York have stalled. Shein would likely be the biggest listing the UK capital has ever hosted, should it achieve the $50 billion valuation seen in private trades.

But Swedish fintech Klarna Bank AB’s CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said this week his firm is zeroing in on a listing in the US, a blow to the UK.

“The UK is already one of the best places in the world to grow and secure investment,” a Treasury spokesperson said in a statement ahead of Hunt’s meeting at Dorneywood. “But it’s important to hear directly from companies regularly about what we can do to make it even better.”

--With assistance from Thyagu Adinarayan and Sam Nagarajan.

(Updates with attendees and listings starting from second paragraph.)

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