Euronext: Internationalizing Portugal
The Portuguese stock exchange was fully integrated into Euronext in November 2003, having signed up to the pan-European exchange in 2002. The theory was that listed companies would have exposure to a wider pool of investors – and might take the opportunity to raise new equity funding and lower their high leverage levels.
Has it worked? Certainly Portuguese stocks are now held by a wider group of investors, according to Miguel Athayde Marques, CEO of Euronext Portugal and a member of the managing board of Euronext. “There has been growing foreign investor interest in Portugal overall and the number of foreign members of the exchange has increased dramatically, indicating greater interest in the companies listed here,” he says. In November 2003, the exchange had three foreign members; now it has 29.
In April 2004 the existing diverse national markets of Euronext were consolidated into one national market each, giving companies the possibility of even easier access to new pools of capital. “The new compartmentalization – with companies in A, B or C segments according to market cap – means that, for instance, small and mid-cap companies are visible to a wider range of investors who are looking across Europe,” says Athayde Marques.