Are there companies or investors missing?

BME, the entity that brings together the Spanish stock exchanges and now owned by the Swiss stock exchange, has presented its unsuccessful call for more Spanish companies to decide to list.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
12 May 2024 Sunday 17:03
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Are there companies or investors missing?

BME, the entity that brings together the Spanish stock exchanges and now owned by the Swiss stock exchange, has presented its unsuccessful call for more Spanish companies to decide to list. BME insists on the benefits of public listing to access better capitalization that would compensate corporations reluctant to face the risk of losing control exercised by families, business groups or even a handful of managers. The truth is that, with few exceptions, such as the current one of Puig with a stock market listing conditioned on not sharing with the minorities the same political rights of the dominant family group, they are achieving little success.

In this way, there have been no important incorporations in recent years, and in addition trading volumes have sunk and the capitalization of the Spanish stock markets is increasingly less relevant on an international scale. In 2015, the average daily trading volume on the Spanish stock exchanges was 3,750 million euros, and in 2023 it was reduced to 1,175 million. A similar fall, although less pronounced, is seen in the rest of the European stock markets, all affected by similar problems.

There is an atavistic resistance in many companies to the demands of transparency and dependence on the markets that public listing implies, which is often not compensated by the financing and growth facilities that the stock exchanges offer. However, there are other factors more relevant to the generalized crisis in the Spanish and European stock markets. First of all, there is a more pronounced deficit of investors than that of listed companies, that is, demand fails even more than supply, which does not seem to worry BME too much.

In recent years, the Spanish markets have lost many of the traditional investors who kept a good part of their savings in Spanish shares with dividends, and they have not compensated them either with collective investment or with new savers. The detachment of investors has been growing. On the one hand, many Spanish companies have disappointed from the point of view of their capital gains and growth, and on the other, the new generations of investors have oscillated between excessive conservatism (preference for the liquidity of accounts and deposits), excessive and irrational risk represented by the commitment to cryptocurrencies, or going to the largest and most profitable North American markets.

Meanwhile, the European Capital Market Union project is slowly moving towards the vital goal for Europe of mobilizing European savings (sufficient, but wasted) from impoverishing liquidity into the capital markets. The aim is to obtain returns to complement the fragile public pensions and at the same time generate investment volumes for companies that allow progress towards sustainability, digitalization and defense, three urgent needs for Europe.