Initial Public Offerings

Author:Dr. Alexander Von Jeinsen and Annette Weber
Profession:Baer & Karrer
 
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Introduction

For any company, the decision to go public is a key milestone in its development. By doing so, it enters the public arena and gets access to the capital market and a much broader investor base. However, a public company is subject to public scrutiny, and must also fulfil stricter regulatory requirements than a privately held company. To avoid unexpected difficulties or even a failure of the project, an IPO candidate, its shareholders and its executive management should prepare the flotation carefully and familiarise themselves with the regulatory requirements.

One of the first steps during the preparatory phase is the selection of the listing venue, where Switzerland offers very attractive conditions through a combination of its strong financial centre and the stable and issuer-friendly Swiss legal and regulatory regime. This is the case not only for companies which were founded in Switzerland, but also for foreign issuers. In 2018, for instance, the two largest Swiss IPOs (CEVA Logistics and SIG Combibloc Group) saw the ultimate holding company of the Group migrate to Switzerland only for the IPO, underlining the attractiveness of the Swiss market.

With a variety of listed companies across all industries, SIX Swiss Exchange is the main and leading stock exchange in Switzerland. It offers a liquid market with state-of-the-art trading conditions. Given its importance and, unless indicated otherwise, references in this contribution to listing requirements and reporting obligations refer to the rules set by SIX Swiss Exchange. The smaller BX Swiss exchange is more focused on Swiss issuers.

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