(Vienna) After the one-off effects of the past three years, the first half of 2023 on the Vienna Stock Exchange was characterised by a general market calming. Equity turnover settled at pre-pandemic levels and amounted to EUR 29.95 billion. In the bond segment, the strong growth trend continued with over 3,300 new bond listings. In March AUSTRIACARD HOLDINGS AG was the newcomer to the top segment prime market, in which 41 stocks are currently listed. Several Austrian companies successfully used the capital market as a source of financing in the first half of the year and placed capital increases, including Wolford AG (EUR 17.6 million), BKS Bank AG (EUR 37.8 million) and Lenzing AG, where the gross proceeds of the fully guaranteed capital increase will amount to around EUR 400 million.
“The multiple crises have caused a lot of movement on the markets over the last three years, but things are now calming down again, as this year's development in share turnover shows. Although there is still restraint in IPOs throughout Europe, the pipeline is filling. We also notice this in the increased interest for our IPO workshops. Companies are still waiting for the ideal economic conditions, however stock market debuts could follow in autumn,” says Christoph Boschan, CEO of Wiener Börse AG.
Bond growth remains at a high level
The bond segment continued its strong growth course: In the first half of 2023, more than 3,300 new listings were added to the Vienna MTF – in the exchange-regulated segment, the Vienna Stock Exchange has clearly established itself as the number one bond listing venue in Europe. There was significant growth of green bonds, for example: The Republic of Austria issued its second green bond in the "Vienna ESG Segment" with a volume of EUR 3 billion, and Banca Comercială Română (BCR) was the first Romanian bank to issue a green Eurobond with an issue volume of EUR 700 million in the same segment. In addition, the Galápagos Marine Bond of the State of Ecuador (USD 656 million), the world's largest debt-for-nature transaction, has been listed on the Vienna MTF. In total, more than 14,300 bonds (HY1 2022: 12,300) with a total amount of EUR 737 billion of over 800 active issuers from 38 countries are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
Equity turnover comparable with 2019
The COVID-19-pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to exceptionally high trading activity over the past three years. In HY1 2023, equity turnover consolidated at EUR 29.95 billion, a level comparable to the pre-pandemic situation (HY1 2019: EUR 31.64 billion). On average, monthly turnover amounted to EUR 5 billion (2019: EUR 5.2 billion). The strongest trading days in the first two quarters were 17 March (EUR 640 million) and 16 June (EUR 504 million). International trading participants accounted for the majority of turnover (86.4%). The Austrian shares with the highest turnover were Erste Group Bank AG (EUR 5.33 billion), OMV AG (EUR 4.46 billion) and voestalpine AG (EUR 2.88 billion). With a price increase of 48.22%, the share of Flughafen Wien AG was the top performer in the first half of 2023, followed by Immofinanz AG (+46.30%) and DO & CO AG (+41.31%).
Austrian shares remain highly interesting for major international investors, as the latest S&P Global Market Intelligence study on the ownership structure of institutional free float – i.e. freely tradable shares – in 2022 demonstrates. For example, globally active institutional investors such as fund companies or sovereign wealth funds hold 90.9% (EUR 22.1 billion) of the institutional free float. With a share of 32.7% of the total volume, US investors lead the field here, followed by British investors with 19.8%. Austrian major investors are in third place with 9.1% – in 2020, their share was still 16.6%.
“The significant share of international investors proves the Vienna Stock Exchange as globally renowned trading venue.” However, it is also clear that initiatives and plans are needed to strengthen the domestic financial market and the Austrian investor base. The reintroduction of the retention period, as also stated in the government program, would be an important step in this regard," says the Vienna Stock Exchange CEO Boschan.
ATX TR rises by over 5 percent year-to-date
The uncertainties that arose in the banking sector in the first quarter had a short-term impact on the national index. Over the course of the year, the ATX TR (incl. dividends) gained 5.32% and held at 6,947.91 points on 30 June 2023 (ATX without dividends +0.91%, 3,154.91 points). When comparing the ATX with other country indices, it is important to note the focus on banks and commodities in the ATX composition. The market capitalization of all companies listed in Vienna amounted to EUR 117.61 billion as of mid-year 2023.
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As the main provider of market infrastructure in the region, Wiener Börse AG is the gate to global markets. Operating the stock exchanges in Vienna and Prague, the group offers state-of-the-art systems, information and IT services. Listed companies receive maximum liquidity and investors benefit from fast and cost-effective trading by the market leader. Wiener Börse AG also collects and distributes stock market data and calculates the most important indices of the region. Because of this unique know-how the national stock exchanges in Budapest, Ljubljana and Zagreb trust its IT services. Additionally, the group holds stakes in energy exchanges and clearing houses.
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