Having sufficient equity capital and access to long term credit lines are important for any company’s growth strategy. But there is this well-known German phenomenon, this “fear” of capital markets and IPOs. According to studies, almost 70% of German companies solely rely on banks for their financing needs. But as it is becoming more and more difficult to get new capital through banks, another look has to be taken at the capital market and what it has to offer. All the more interesting was a panel discussion I attended last week in Munich with German Mittelstand and family entrepreneurs on exactly this topic.
The German capital market and its exchanges are not being as positioned as positively as the UK or US ones so there still is a lot of skepticism ranging from the possibilities to the requirements capital market financing brings with it. Many family owned businesses do not want to lose their independence, their majority vote. Entrepreneurs also are much more emotional, building up and relying on networks, in comparison to externally managed corporations. Being visible on the capital market as a company means that revenues and returns are in focus, one has to be more transparent. One has to be truly present in the public eye. Many family owned companies do not want that kind of exposure. These and other topics were discussed with the general outcome being that these are fears that can easily be alleviated. For instance through better education from the German stock exchanges about financing possibilities as well as their actual requirements and what this means for the MIttelstand. Being listed can bring many positive aspects to these companies such as succession planning or the ability for greater international expansion and, most importantly, not having to rely on bank financing alone.
(thanks to ALPHAZIRKEL for organizing another great evening!)