Atlantia exit highlights Milan’s battle to retain market heavyweights

  • Atlantia will be checked out after purchase
  • Many Italian companies stay away from the stock market
  • The authorities are seeking to raise the rating of Borsa Italiana

MILAN, November 25. raising fears about his position.

Lawmakers and regulators want to reverse the trend and reinforce the 200-year-old Borsa Italiana’s role as the backbone of Italian business.

Barbara Lunghi, head of Italian stock listings at market owner Euronext, argues that the study of being a listed business and having outside investors pushes businesses to innovate and grow.

“It gives companies additional equipment to help drive growth,” Lungi said.

But the problem is deep-rooted, with many Italian family businesses reluctant to give up control by listing their businesses unless they need cash for M&A or other expansion strategies.

Market watchdog Consob this year approved measures to streamline approval procedures for IPO prospectuses, including allowing them to be submitted in English.

Also aiming to speed up change, Italy this year began examining how to overhaul its listing, voting and other rules to address problems holding back the country’s capital markets, though the process was frozen by a government reshuffle when a right-wing coalition won. the last September elections.

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THE EXIT OF MILAN

So far this year, 11 companies have left Euronext Milan, including the Agnelli family’s Exor holding company ( EXOR.AS ), which moved to the Amsterdam bourse under its legal domicile.

Roads and airport operator Atlantia is on the way after a buyout by the Benetton family, while Blackstone broke through 90% support on Thursday.

Autogrill ( AGL.MI ) is expected to delist following a merger with Switzerland’s Dufry, while the fate of shoemaker Tod’s ( TOD.MI ) remains uncertain after a takeover bid by its major shareholder failed.

CNH Industrial ( CNHI.MI ), whose shares are listed in both Milan and New York, is also considering ending its dual listing and focusing on the NYSE.

Taking listed companies private is a broader trend shared by many European stock exchanges, as low prices and the availability of cheap money have made it convenient.

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FEW NEW

On the positive side, four companies joined the main Euronext Milan market this year, including truckmaker Iveco ( IVG.MI ), which was the result of a spin-off. Two other companies were upgraded from the smaller Euronext Growth Milan.

The situation is healthier for Euronext Growth Milan itself, a market dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises with minimal entry requirements. In 2022, it counted 18 new listings, but the total market cap is very low.

The lack of Italian IPOs is a perennial problem.

Over the past 20 years, the main market has lost 268 listed companies and gained just 185, according to Intermonte research published in March. In contrast, the less regulated SME market attracted 263 listed companies and saw 68 delistings.

A CULTURAL PROBLEM

The fact that there are relatively few listed companies has its roots in the country’s history, says Andrea Beltratti, a professor of political economy at Milan’s Bocconi University.

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Beltratti said Italy does not have a long tradition of equity financing and its economy has been relatively weak for the past 20 years.

In Italy, the heavy presence of banks and other financial intermediaries has replaced the role of markets, so companies often prefer to ask them for financing.

“The advantages of being listed are the ease of raising capital and the prestige (of the position), but there are also costs associated with regulation, the need for transparency and a lot of interaction with investors,” Beltratti said.

“I don’t think these are issues that can be resolved in months or even years, because it’s a cultural issue,” Beltratti added. ($1 = 0.9755 EUR)

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Graphics by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Keith Weir and David Holmes

Our standards. Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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