Six to launch SMEs-focused segment on Swiss exchange
The Swiss stock exchange operated by Six on Thursday unveiled plans to soon launch a new segment dedicated to small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) called Sparks. The operator believes Swiss SMEs will have more visibility and benefit from a more relevant peer group and more price formation for their equity shares. Currently, the segment remains subject to regulatory approval.
Among listing requirements on the future Sparks segment, Six said companies should have a market capitalisation of less than CHF 500m upon listing, at least a two-year track record, a shareholder base of more than 50 investors and equity capital exceeding CHF 12m. The capital increase, part of the IPO, shall amount to more than CHF 8m, unless equity capital exceeds CHF 25m.
In a release, Six said SMEs' interest in public capital markets has been increasing for years while venture-capital investments have risen five-fold in Switzerland over the past decade. The group is already servicing SMEs through Stage in particular. This service encompasses independent research coverage for SMEs, conferences connecting SMEs with investors, education workshops, and e-learning solutions.
Said Valeria Ceccarelli, head primary markets at Six Swiss Exchange, “SMEs in Switzerland – as in many countries – are a powerful economic engine. Our challenge has been to ensure that we can offer entrepreneurs a platform that can help them efficiently access capital, enhance their visibility, strengthen their credibility, and provide the levels of transparency and scrutiny that maximise investor interest. With Sparks, we will be able to achieve the right balance of all of these elements as well as to contribute meaningfully to the growth of SMEs and, more broadly, to that of the Swiss economy.”