Main advantages of a public company are:
1. Access to capital to fund growth
Public placement of shares on a stock exchange allows the company to attract capital to fund both organic growth (modernisation and upgrade of production facilities, implementation of capital-intensive projects) and acquisitive expansion. If retained earnings and debt funding are insufficient, IPO becomes one of the most realistic and convenient ways to secure the continuing growth of the business. It provides access to a massive, timeless pool of capital and boosts the investment credibility of the business.
2. Creation of liquidity and potential exit for the current owners
Formation of a public market for the company’s shares at fair price creates liquidity and provides an opportunity to sell the shares promptly with minimal transactional costs. The private owners of the company can dispose of their stakes in the business both during an IPO (this route is often taken by the minority financial investors such as venture or private capital funds) and at a later stage (this is often preferred by the majority shareholders).
3. Maximum value of the company
Normally, an IPO is an offer to a large number of institutional and retail investors to become shareholders of the company. The very multitude of large investors and their confidence in the liquidity of their investment in a public entity assure the current owners of a private company about achieving the maximum possible valuation of the business at the time of an IPO or afterwards.
4. Enhancement of the company’s public profile
Listing on a recognised stock exchange means that the business will receive wide media coverage, usually a very favourable one, thus increasing the company’s visibility and recognition of its products and services. The company’s activities will also be reflected in the reports by professional financial analysts. Such public profile supports liquidity of the shares and contributes to the expansion of the business contacts. It also helps to increase confidence among the company’s business partners.
5. Improvement in debt finance terms
For domestic (Ukrainian or other CIS country-based) financial institutions – used to working with the low-transparency businesses and often inadequate financial reporting – a company listed on a recognised stock exchange becomes a desirable and reliable partner. Banks are often ready to extend loans to public companies in larger amounts, under smaller collateral, for longer maturities and with lower interest rates. Even the largest and most prestigious banking institutions are keen to work with public companies – whose transparency and corporate governance serve as additional factors of confidence for banks and other suppliers of credit.
6. Extra assurances for partners, suppliers and clients
Partners and contractors of a public company feel more confident about its financial state and organisational capabilities as compared to those of a non-transparent private business. Partners take additional comfort in the fact that the public company has gone through rigorous legal, financial and corporate due diligences – all of which are required for a successful completion of an IPO. Confidence among partners and contractors is a sound foundation for stable and predictable business relations with the public company, and allows the latter to obtain additional leverage in negotiating better terms for doing business.
7. Enhanced loyalty of key personnel
Publicly available information about the share price of a public company allows development of employee motivation schemes based on partial remuneration of staff in the form of participation in the equity capital (for example, share options). Equity-based incentive schemes stimulate the key personnel to become more efficient in their work in order to support the company’s growth rates and profitable development – which in turn increase the operational and financial efficiency of the company and its market value.
8. Superior efficiency of the business
Conduct of various due diligences during the IPO process requires a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the company’s business model. During the IPO implementation process, certain internal changes take place, including modification of the organisational structure; selection of the key personnel and delegation of responsibilities; improvement of internal reporting and controls; as well as critical evaluation of the efficiency of the entire business. Normally, such extensive internal efforts result in significant improvements of the communication system, management and controls; they also help eliminate any previously hidden shortcomings in the internal functioning of the business.