The Financial Markets Fully Supported the SME Segment in 2011

Despite the economic downturn in 2011, the financial markets continued to play their part in financing the economy. Companies listed on NYSE Euronext’s European markets (Euronext and NYSE Alternext) raised slightly more than €69.5 billion last year, including €52.3 billion in bonds, €14.7 billion in equity and €2.2 billion in convertible bonds. Looking at equity and convertible bonds alone, the increase over 2010 is 37%. "In a difficult economic environment characterized by banks' unwillingness to offer credit, listed companies today are increasingly turning to financing through the markets," explains Marc Lefèvre, Head of Coverage Europe, NYSE Euronext.

On the IPO front, the first half of the year was positive, with a slowdown after the month of August due to the United States' decreased credit rating, the crisis in the euro zone and dropping share prices on the stock exchange. A total of 44 companies entered NYSE Euronext's European markets, down from 51 companies in 2010. Of these, six involved large companies, and 38 were for SMEs. "There were a total of 16 market introductions with capital raised on NYSE Alternext, compared with 11 in 2010. Despite the overall drop in the number of IPOs, we welcomed a larger number of SMEs on our markets than the previous year," says Mr. Lefèvre.

"We're pleased to see that a larger number of SMEs used the stock exchange in 2011," Marc Lefèvre added. The 100 instances of capital raising on the primary and secondary markets involved 90 companies. This means that 15% of listed companies used the market in 2011, compared with less than 10% usually.

Small operations were the most numerous, but several major market introductions also took place last year on NYSE Euronext's European markets, most notably two of the five largest spin-offs in Europe: the market entry for the steelmaker Aperam, spun off from Arcelor-Mittal, and the spin-off of TNT Express from PostNL.

Added market capitalization in 2011 on NYSE Euronext and NYSE Alternext amounted to more than €20 billion.