European Small and Mid-Cap Award Goes to Norwegian Borregaard and Wilh. Wilhelmsen

Wilh. Wilhelmsen headquarter in Norway

The winners were announced in the evening of the 19 November 2013 at a ceremony organised by the Federation of European Stock Exchanges and EuropeanIssuers. The ceremony gathered over 200 practitioners from European stock exchanges, businesses and policymakers.

The European Commission launched the Awards, together with leading European stock exchanges and EuropeanIssuers, to promote the benefits of a stock listing. The “Access to Finance” survey released last week shows that in 2013 nearly one third of SMEs did not get the finance they needed. Although a public listing is an excellent alternative for accessing capital, equity financing was only used by 5% of Europe’s SMEs over the past six months, compared to 7% in 2011.  Initial Public Offerings (IPO)  activity in Europe have dramatically declined from a level of 666 new listings in 2007 to 165 in 2012. 

Encouraging small and mid-cap companies to pursue public listings is a top priority of the European Commission. The Commission recently adopted the Annual Growth Survey 2014, confirming that companies in many Member States remain over-indebted as a result of the crisis and still need to complete their financial deleveraging.

According to Judith Hardt, Director General, FESE: “Each of the winning companies was nominated by a leading European stock exchange in recognition of their outstanding IPO. Our winners are successfully using their public listings to access the capital needed to expand globally, invest in innovation, increase visibility and benefit their shareholders.”

“Europe’s overall competitiveness depends on the strength of its innovative small and mid-cap companies. These Awards highlight the role that market finance can play in the European economy and challenge Europe’s political, business and financial leaders to support our small and mid-cap companies’ IPO efforts,” says Susannah Haan, Secretary General of EuropeanIssuers.

Small and mid-cap companies interested in learning more about how to go public can visit the new online guide published by the European Commission. The guide features practical advice in all European languages to help companies assess whether an IPO is right for them, as well as information about available options. It explains the process of going public, including the financial and time costs, the expectations of external investors and what steps are required relating to customers and suppliers.

The five winners of the European Small and Mid-cap Awards 2013 are:

Best new listed company: Gowex
Want to access the internet while navigating the streets of New York, Madrid, or Dubai? Thanks to Gowex you can, for free. The Spanish telecommunications company’s business model has proved popular with investors, with its profits skyrocketing from EUR 40 million to over EUR 659 million.

Rising star: Veripos Inc.
The UK company’s high-tech GPS satellite systems allow the offshore drilling and survey industries to navigate the challenging ocean environments they operate in. With its integration into the European Galileo constellation of positioning satellites, the company’s market share has grown to 30%.

Most innovative newcomer: Borregaard ASA
When you bite into that fresh baked good, chances are you taste a Borregaard produced vanillin ingredient made completely from wood as opposed to chemicals. The company invests up to 4% of its annual turnover in innovation, particularly in the development of fine and biochemical applications.

Most internationally-minded newcomer: Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA and Carbures Europe
Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA: The Norwegian ocean transportation company ensures that your new vehicle makes it from manufacturer to dealership. As the sector continues to globalise, Wilh. Wilhelmsen is actively expanding into emerging markets, such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, allowing its capitalisation to grow to EUR 1.5 billion.

Carbures Europe: The Spanish company’s innovative carbon-based, composite materials are redefining the manufacturing of planes, trains and automobiles. With a turnover of EUR 45 million and operations in Europe, the US and China, it is one of the only component suppliers to have a truly global footprint.

About the Award

The first edition of the European Small and Mid-cap Awards aims to promote best practices and encourage more small and mid-sized companies to access capital markets via IPOs. This is a joint initiative of the European Commission, leading European stock exchanges and EuropeanIssuers. The Awards were open to small and mid-cap companies which listed on and were nominated by the leading European public stock exchanges between 01 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. Nominations were received from from Spain (BME), Italy (Borsa Italia), Germany (Deutsche Börse), France (NYSE Euronext Paris), Norway (Oslo Børs), Sweden (Nasdaq OMX), Switzerland (SIX Swiss), Poland (Warsaw Stock Exchange), Turkey (Istanbul Borsa), and the United Kingdom (London Stock Exchange).

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