The market for initial public offerings in Canada teetered into 2015 under the influence of equity market confusion, depressed commodity prices and a slack Canadian economy that all combined to slow activity, the quarterly survey of Canadian markets by PwC has shown.

After a volatile final quarter in 2014, the IPO market failed to pick up speed in the first three months of this year. Just five new issues across all exchanges made it to the market in the first quarter, the PwC survey revealed, with total proceeds of more than $624 million – up from the meager $2.3 million in the first quarter of 2014 but below the $810 million from two issues in the final quarter of last year.

The largest issue of the quarter was the $621 million float of Fairfax India Holdings Corporation on the TSX. It was the only TSX activity in a quarter that saw just one issue on the TSX Venture and three on the CSE.

"Despite the slowdown, the IPO market is still all about new opportunities, and we saw emerging trends and developments this quarter," says Dean Braunsteiner, PwC national IPO leader. "The Fairfax issue, an investment fund focused on businesses in the Indian subcontinent, is an innovation that has found favour in a chaotic market otherwise fixated on falling oil prices and other headlines."

The debut in March of the Aequitas NEO exchange is another welcome sign of innovation and potential change in the Canadian equity market landscape, Braunsteiner says. "We're going to be watching the development of NEO with real interest to see what kind of new opportunities and new sectors it cultivates."

One new mining issue reached the market in the first quarter (Montego Resources Inc. on the CSE) along with one oil & gas issue (San Angelo Oil Limited on the Venture).

PwC has conducted its survey of the IPO market in Canada for more than 10 years. The reports are issued on a quarterly basis to provide information to the corporate sector, investors, the media and others that will help them put the market into better perspective. For the purposes of the survey, investment vehicles such as structured products are not considered IPOs because they do not represent new equity raised for operating companies.