Capital Plans

Big on the Bourse

Oliver Samwer, one of the three brothers behind start-up incubator Rocket Internet. Source: DPA
Oliver Samwer, one of the three brothers behind start-up incubator Rocket Internet.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s stock exchange is vying to compete for IPOs with the United States and hopes next year will build on a successful 2014.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • This year was the best for IPOs in Germany since the crash of the dot.com economy in 2000.
    • Online retailer Zalando and start-up incubator Rocket Internet were among 11 firms that went public in Germany in 2014.
    • Internet companies are expected to dominate the German IPO listings in 2015. Pharma giant Bayer also plans to list its MaterialScience business.
  • Audio

    Audio

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When the English teacher Jack Ma started the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba from his Hangzhou apartment, he never dreamed of how successful it would become.

But 15 years later, he presided over the world’s largest ever initial public offering (IPO) worth $25 billion (€20.4 billion) on the New York stock exchange. The shares jumped 36 percent at their debut in September to $92.70 and they have only climbed higher since then.

German equity markets weren’t nearly so euphoric about the IPOs of web-related firms led by the Samwer brothers in 2014. But investors in both their start-up incubator Rocket Internet and online retailer Zalando have still booked gains of 20 and 17 percent respectively since launching this fall.

Rocket Internet accounted for nearly 40 percent of total German emission volume with €1.4 billion, according to the firm Kirchhoff Consult, making it the fourth largest IPO in Europe this year.

But many investment bankers think 2015 could be even better.

“The example of Rocket Internet showed that it is also attractive for an Internet company to list on the stock market in Germany and can compete with a listing in the USA,” said Andreas Bernstorff, who is responsible for German IPOs at the fianancial firm Citigroup.

He believes many German e-commerce firms could also soon go public.

But it’s not just tech enterprises such as Rocket and Zalando that are doing well on the stock market. The share prices of both Stabilus, a machinery producer, and Hella, an auto parts maker, have both gained since their listings this year. Only the stock of roof and building manufactor Braas Monier has tanked, falling 35 percent since its IPO. That’s comparable to the losses that most investors in new Chinese listings suffered this year – Alibaba’s success aside.

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