The Vienna Stock Exchange (Wiener Börse) has launched a new market segment, the mid-market segment. It is specifically tailored for smaller and medium-sized enterprises with lower financing requirements.
Two distinct features characterize this particular segment:
Companies may choose either between a listing on the regulated market (including the Official Market and the Semi-official Market) and a listing on the unregulated market (the so-called Third Market).
Any company intending to be listed on the mid-market segment must appoint a capital market coach (CMC). The primary tasks of the CMC include an evaluation as to whether the company is fit for the mid-market segment, support through the going-public process and ongoing assistance during the company's life as a listed entity.
In the Vienna Stock Exchange's view, these are designed to safeguard quality and to boost liquidity on the mid-market. The race for opening the mid-market has allegedly already begun. Two companies previously listed in the Other Listings segment have already switched to the mid-market segment and the first mid-market IPO is reportedly imminent.
There are no minimum requirements regarding issuing volume or the minimum capitalization of free float. To attract potential entrants, the Vienna Stock Exchange has further announced that no administrative fees will be levied for companies entering the mid-market segment until year-end. As already outlined, the most important feature in the mid-market is the function of the CMC, which supports the company before and during its initial public offering, and offers ongoing support. The issuer is responsible for complying with the rules and regulations of the primary and secondary markets. Any company listed in the mid-market segment must publish financial statements, bi-annual reports and a calendar of corporate events. If the company opts for a listing on the unregulated Third Market, it may continue to prepare financial statements according to national accounting standards; otherwise a change of the accounting policies to IFRS is required.
Table 1 and Table 2 have been derived from the Vienna Stock Exchange's webpage and summarize the most important criteria for admission to the mid-market and the ongoing obligations arising out of a listing in this particular segment.
|Table 1: Criteria for admission to the mid-market|
|Regulated market (Official, Semi-official)||Unregulated market (Third Market)|
|Minimum capitalization of free float||No minimum requirement||No minimum requirement|
|Type of share||Only ordinary shares||Only ordinary shares|
|Minimum existence of company||Official Market: three years|
Semi-official Market: one year
|Support for IPO||Capital Market Coach (CMC)||Capital Market Coach (CMC)|
|Source: Vienna Stock Exchange|
|Table 2: Transparency criteria on the mid-market|
|Regulated market (Official, Semi-official)||Regulated market (Official, Semi-official)||Unregulated market (Third Market)|
|Financial statement||Publication within four months after the end of the reporting period||Publication within four months after the end of the reporting period||Publication within five months after the end of the reporting period|
|Bi-annual reports||Publication within two months after the end of the first half-year||Publication within two months after the end of the first half-year||Publication within three months after the end of the first half-year|
|Interim statements (for 1Q and 3Q)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Calendar of corporate events||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Accounting standards||IFRS||IFRS||National accounting standards or IFRS (optional)|
|Language||German||German||German or English|
|Obligation to disclose price-sensitive information||Yes||Yes|
|Source: Vienna Stock Exchange|
While expectations are high, it will only crystallize in the long run whether the mid-market segment is a successful funding source for small and medium-sized enterprises.