Initial public offerings slump to lowest in decade .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} MILAN - Initial public offerings are off to the slowest start this year in at least a decade as the recession and stock market rout deter investors

No company raised money in an initial public offering on the New York or London stock exchanges in January, according to Bloomberg. Hong Kong-based Strong Petrochemical Holdings and Indonesia’s PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya led companies that sold $91 million of stock in IPOs last month, less than 1 percent of the $8.7 billion companies raised in January 2008, the busiest-ever start to a year, the data show.

Struggle to lure in investors

Companies are struggling to lure investors as the credit crisis pushes the world’s largest economies into recession. The International Monetary Fund last week cut its estimates for global growth in 2009 to 0.5 percent, the slowest since World War II. Stock market volatility has also increased, deterring money managers from buying stock. The VIX, or Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, touched a high of 55.7 last month, more than double the level of January 2008. "The current crisis is one of the most difficult we’ve ever seen," said Gil Forer, global director of IPO initiatives at Ernst & Young in London. "We don’t expect to see a change in the first half."

No company has raised money in an IPO in New York since Grand Canyon Education raised $145 million in November. In London, share sales on the Alternative Investment Market, the market for smaller companies, halted.

Exchanges from Lima to Dubai are expecting a slowdown in IPOs.. The Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, the United Arab Emirates’ market regulator, is expecting "few" IPOs this year, Chief Executive Abdullah al-Turaifi said last week. IPOs in Peru may drop by almost half to 15 this year from 2008, Lima Stock Exchange Chairman Roberto Hoyle said. Firms may be forced to find ways to cut costs, raise money from existing investors, or seek new sources of revenue instead of going public, Forer added.