Last year alone, 44 joint stock companies were delisted from the Belgrade Stock Exchange, while 48 more will leave our capital market in 2022.
In the light of speculation that Messer Tehnogas, a company with one of the most liquid shares, is also preparing for delisting, the question that needs to be asked is why are companies leaving the Belgrade Stock Exchange?
“The trend of companies withdrawing from the Belgrade Stock Exchange has been going on almost continuously since the global financial crisis, but it has slowed down in the last few years, only due to the fact that a big number of companies have already made such a step,” Momentum Securities chief broker Nenad Gujaničić says.
From 2004 to date, a large number of companies have withdrawn from the Stock Exchange, with most of them unknown to the general public.
“The main reason why companies are leaving the stock market is the fact that they see this market exclusively as an obligation and an expense and that they generally do not benefit greatly from it,” Gujaničić explains.
Behind the decision to withdraw, however, there may also be a concrete interest in cementing the consolidation of ownership.
“Some majority shareholders took advantage of the fact that the share market was decimated, so they bought the remaining part of the ownership at much lower prices than the realistic ones, using the current legal regulations. Generally, in a situation when the market is quite weak, the supremacy of majority shareholders in relation to minority shareholders comes to the fore even more, so we rarely had cases where small shareholders were kicked out of the company at fair value”, Gujaničić adds.
There are currently 891 joint stock companies listed on the Belgrade Stock Exchange, but Gujaničić points out that only ten shares are continuously traded with. The shares of five companies are on the Prime listing – Nikola Tesla Airport, Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS), Jedinstvo from Sevojno, Fintel and Metalac from Gornji Milanovac, while the shares of Dunav Osiguranje, Žitopek from Niš, Impol Seval and Messer Tehnogas are listed on the Open Market.
“The eventual delisting of one of the companies that has a greater weight and greater liquidity would be a big blow to the already faltering stock market. For example, last year the turnover from the sale of shares fell to 26.4 million euros, which is an average of 100,000 euros daily, or almost 40 percent worse than in the pandemic year when the market hit rock bottom,” warned Gujaničić.
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