SMEs turned increasingly to financial markets in 2014, with companies backed by Euronext subsidiary EnterNext raising a total of EUR9 billion on Euronext’s pan-European markets.
This included shares and bonds in both primary and second trading, and is the highest figure raised in several years. A resurgence in IPOs, combined with hard work by EnterNext teams, resulted in 31 SME listings that raised EUR740 million. Investors were enthusiastic, with issues oversubscribed 2.6 times on average. Secondary capital raising through equities and bonds was also lively, rising from EUR5.7 billion in 2013 to EUR8.2 billion in 2014.
In all, over 300 SMEs turned to financial markets in 2014. Drawn from a variety of sectors — real estate, tech, manufacturing and more — they were equally diverse in size and geographical markets. In France, some 52% of new 2014 listings were of companies from outside Paris.
In 2014, EnterNext launched a series of initiatives aimed at meeting the top two challenges facing mid-size stocks: liquidity and visibility. In July, it teamed up with Morningstar to roll out a financial analysis programme covering 220 listed SMEs in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector. Benefits include free quantitative reports, available on the EnterNext and Morningstar websites since September 2014, and reduced trading fees for brokers that publish regular reports on EnterNext shares. Ten brokers have already signed up, covering 422 companies altogether.
In France, EnterNext also actively supported the creation and promotion of PEA-PME savings accounts to channel French savings into SMEs. To date, 300 companies have announced that they are PEA-PME eligible and are listed on Euronext’s website. To boost the visibility of this programme, EnterNext has also launched the EnterNext® PEA-PME 150, a benchmark index of 150 equities qualifying for PEA-PME accounts. The index rose 16% in 2014, highlighting the strong performance of these companies for investors.
As part of its commitment to mid-caps, EnterNext took part in 210 promotional events over the year, targeting both entrepreneurs and investors in a bid to build a strong network across the SME ecosystem.
Supporting innovative businesses is a priority for EnterNext, which focused on identifying their financing needs and special features in 2014. Last year 26 tech companies — in digital innovation, life sciences and eco-industries — listed on markets covered by EnterNext, raising EUR540 million in all. The same commitment was in the spotlight at the first EnterNext Tech Conference on 17 November 2014. With over 300 sector representatives present, EnterNext announced a series of initiatives to help innovative European companies raise capital on financial markets — and make them more visible to investors. Set for rollout in 2015, the three pillars of this programme include:
• Increased assistance for the 320 tech stocks covered by EnterNext
• A new label for 30-50 particularly noteworthy stocks
• A new programme to support and coach tech companies that have not yet listed
This programme will be deployed in each Euronext country and region throughout 2015, rallying all regional ecosystems.
“2014 was a very full year, both for EnterNext and for midcaps raising capital on financial markets,” says Eric Forest, Chairman and CEO of EnterNext. “These companies really do need funds to grow and prosper, and in 2015 EnterNext will continue to offer assistance, working hand in hand with SMEs and their ecosystem. We are fully engaged, and we have great confidence in the year ahead. Our teams will be working very closely with companies, investors and the financial community as a whole, both within regions and throughout Europe.”