In a few weeks two lightning bolts from the blue on the Italian financial market: the move of Exor, which passes from Milan to Amsterdam and the announcement of a voluntary takeover bid by Tod’s. However, if we turn our gaze to the recent past, we realize that the “escape” from Piazza Affari is anything but a surprise. Since the beginning of the year, almost 20 companies have started the procedures for exiting the Piazza Affari list. A loss worth over 45 billion euros, just under 10% of the entire stock market capitalization.
The reasons for this choice are different, of a fiscal, industrial, opportunity or necessity nature.
For Della Valle, the departure of Tod’s is a prerequisite for facing the challenges of the future with greater autonomy and less pressure from financial investors who ask for quarterly results, while the horizon is well beyond the annual budget. However, the family puts 338 million euros on the plate to complete the operation, with a premium of 20% compared to the pre-announcement stock market prices.
Despite the latest defections, however, the balance for Piazza Affari is still positive. According to a recent research conducted by Intermonte sim, in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano, in the last 20 years, admissions to Piazza Affari have been 448 while delistings have been 336. The net balance is therefore positive: at the end of 2021, the record threshold of 400 listed companies (407) in Piazza Affari was exceeded, with a change in the profile of the stock market, more oriented towards medium-small capitalization companies.
In this contextEconomy of the Corriere della Sera he put under observation the takeover bids launched during the year, highlighting the value recognized to minority shareholders to “digest” the departure from the scene.
All bidders have “incentivized” their shareholders, with one exception, Autogrill. The group active in the field of catering announced the merger with Dufry to create a 12 billion euro colossuso turnover: the offer alternatively provides for shares of the buyer or cash for 6.33 euros. However, these values are lower than the current stock market prices. Investors therefore expect conditions to be improved. There is time to do this, given that the operation should not be finalized before the second quarter of next year. In this perspective Kepler Cheuvreux has reduced from Buy to Hold the judgment, but raised the target price from € 7.8 to € 6.75. For Exor, the safe of the Agnelli family, the reasons for leaving Piazza Affari are mainly of an organizational nature. Exor is in fact already today a company under Dutch law, which has no offices or employees in Italy, and is controlled by a Dutch company. In short, destiny had already been written for some time. The market reaction to this decision was positive: compared to the pre-announcement price, the stock recorded a maximum of 8% and then lost momentum. Admission to listing in Amsterdam is scheduled for 12 August while the delisting from Piazza Affari could materialize around the end of September.
The alignment of interests between family capitalism and the Italian financial market is not easy, especially for companies that approached the stock market in the second millennium. In fact, since 2000 the Ftse Mib index has achieved one performance substantially flat, also considering the dividend ex-dividend. Over the same period, the Dax gained 145%, the S & P500 573%. Even the Spanish index did better: + 94%. In the absence of an increase in the value of the shares of their company, entrepreneurs see the stock market as a cost and the relationship with investors a brake on their long-term projects.
It was the same for Piteco, software house of management for corporate treasury and financial planning, which announced the delisting with the aim of simplifying the organization and the governance of the group to better prepare for possible mergers and acquisitions. For minority shareholders, however, it was a success story: the stock listed in mid-2015 at a value of 3.3 euros per share, will be withdrawn from the list at a price of 11.25 euros.
Atlantia is the company with the greatest specific weight to have started the delisting. The totalitarian takeover bid was announced in mid-April by the Benetton family and the BlackStone fund. The “exit” price was set at 23 euros per share, which rises to 23.74 euros by adding the dividend already distributed. A premium of 24% over the official pre-announcement share price.
If on one hand the historic family capitalism makes the choice to leave the stock exchange, the emerging one makes room. This is demonstrated by the effervescence of new listings on Euronext Growth Milan, the list that welcomes high-growth Italian SMEs. There have been sixteen new IPOs since the beginning of the year.
«The listing on the stock exchange – he explains Luigi Giannotta, general manager of Integrae sim – involves investments whose benefits are appreciated over time and not always in an immediately tangible way, as entrepreneurs like. Before listing a company, we therefore do a great deal of education on the company managers, and the large number of transactions we have successfully concluded confirms the goodness of this choice ».