Today, Xlife Sciences, a Swiss-based biotechnology firm, became the first company to list on Sparks, the newly launched SME (small to medium sized enterprise) equity market on SIX Swiss Exchange. This comes as many SMEs increasingly recognise the growth benefits afforded by the public markets and in particular by Sparks.
Supporting SMEs with Their Development and Growth
“SIX Swiss Exchange has a long-standing track record of supporting promising SMEs with their development and growth, and Sparks is no exception. Through Sparks, SMEs will be able to tap into the public capital markets more easily – enabling them to obtain funding for their next growth stages. Sparks will also give investors access to new and exciting companies at a time when return generation has been tough,” notes Valeria Ceccarelli, Head Primary Markets at SIX Swiss Exchange.
In addition to benefiting from the increased visibility and brand awareness associated with being publicly traded and the ability to be assessed alongside their listed SME peers, Sparks provides SMEs with a credibility boost. Being publicly traded on a regulated and reputable venue such as SIX Swiss Exchange is a strong commitment from the companies to adhere to higher transparency standards and scrutiny, which is key to gaining the trust of investors.
Listing Requirements Tailored for SMEs
At the same time, many SMEs will be drawn to Sparks by its flexibility. The listing requirements are tailored for SMEs (market capitalisation threshold of less than CHF 500 million, minimum free float market cap of CHF 15 million, minimum equity capital of CHF 12 million, etc). Similarly, the fulfilment of corporate governance reporting obligations has been simplified so as to make Sparks more accessible for burgeoning and fast-growing SMEs.
Valeria Ceccarelli also highlights that thriving SMEs listed on Sparks will also benefit from being able to mark their successful development by switching onto the main market of SIX Swiss Exchange. “Sparks will be hugely positive for capital markets, and will certainly play an instrumental role in stimulating SME growth and driving up liquidity in Switzerland,” concludes Ceccarelli.