An article by Jens Hecht, Kirchhoff Consult | July 13, 2020

Over 100 small-cap IPOs on European growth exchanges – catch up in Germany

A total of 108 so-called small caps were listed on the market segments of the European stock exchanges for smaller companies in 2019. In contrast, there was no entry in the corresponding Scale segment of Deutsche Börse.

Measured by the sales development of the companies, they are smaller but fast-growing companies. This represents an enormous asset to the European capital market. The growth segments AIM of the London Stock Exchange (8 IPOs) and Borsa Italiana AIM-MAC (29 IPOs), Euronext Access and Growth Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris (30 IPOs ), NASDAQ First North Growth Market (42 IPOs) and Frankfurt Scale (0 IPOs).

Small caps with strong growth in Europe

The 108 European small-cap IPOs achieved an average turnover of around EUR 47 million in 2019 (median: EUR 10 million). The companies examined come from various industries such as renewable energies, real estate, associated companies, technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and medical and industrial technology.

The highest turnover in 2019 was achieved by a healthcare provider from Dublin, Uniphar Plc, with EUR 1.7 billion. The company was listed in parallel on AIM in London and on Euronext Growth. On average, the sales growth of all small-cap listings in the fiscal year 2019 was around 72% (median: 11%). Over two-fifths of the companies are still writing losses.

The small-cap issuer with the strongest growth is Signature Fastigheter, a Swedish real estate company that develops and manages residential and commercial real estate: here, sales have increased more than twentyfold. This is followed by Innovative-RFK, a private equity firm based in Milan, which specializes in equity investments in innovative small and medium-sized companies that operate in the areas of digital marketing and medical devices, with a nine-fold increase in sales. The Bublar Group recorded the third strongest sales growth with a sales increase of 467%. The Bublar Group is a Swedish technology company that offers extended reality solutions in the areas of e-commerce, entertainment, training, and manufacturing.

Even if there were no IPOs in the German scale 2019, there are definitely high-growth new small-cap listings on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, such as the MBH Corporation Plc. Measured by the increase in sales in 2019, the first year on the stock exchange, the company is one of the top 10 fastest growing small-cap newcomers in Europe. MBH achieved sales growth of 306% in 2019 to around EUR 56 million and generated a net profit after taxes of EUR 4 million, which means an increase of 190% compared to the 2018 financial year. MBH is a diversified private equity firm based in London that acquires small and medium-sized companies from different regions and industries that are well established and profitable.

Top 10 fastest growing small cap IPOs in Europe

Companies Stock market segment Reporting currency Turnover 2019
in millions
SIGNATURE FASTIGHETER First North Growth SEC 34.9 2544%
INNOVATIVE RFK Euronext Access EUR 0.2 900%
BUBLAR GROUP First North Growth SEC 17.0 467%
SEAFIRE First North Growth SEC 164.0 218%
ZIGNSEC First North Growth SEC 6.9 216%
INCOAX NETWORKS First North Growth SEC 3.0 200%
FERROAMP First North Growth SEC 46.0 188%
MEDIA MAKER Euronext Growth EUR 30.6 155%

Growth segments for IPOs of growth companies

An IPO creates financial scope for growth and innovation and opens the way for companies to national and international investors. For many years now, European stock exchanges have been trying to attract small and medium-sized companies to an IPO by introducing new stock exchange segments.

With the establishment of the Scale segment in 2017, Deutsche Börse created a new segment for growth companies as well as for classic medium-sized companies. The scale was founded as a replacement for the previous Entry Standard and, with its inclusion requirements and follow-up obligations tailored to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”), makes it easier to raise capital. It offers an efficient way of financing equity via a legally registered SME growth market in line with EU standards.

Such growth exchanges have been around for a long time in other European countries, and SMEs use them much more often when going public than their German counterparts. The Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange “AIM” was founded in 1995 and the market segment “AIM Italia – MAC” in 2009. The growth segment Growth of the euro Next (Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris) there since the year of 2005.


The analysis of European small-cap IPOs shows the great growth potential of small caps. Most new issuers significantly increased their sales in the first year on the stock exchange. The fact that many of these young growth companies are still making losses did not deter investors. You are aware of the risks of small caps – but also of the opportunities.

The numerous small-cap IPOs in Europe make us confident about the diversity of the capital markets and the financing options for small and medium-sized companies. In contrast, there were no IPOs in the Scale segment of Deutsche Börse in 2019. This shows that Germany still has disadvantages compared to other European countries, which have an overall negative impact on the number of IPOs. To change this, we need tax incentives and a new equity culture. Because the trend continues: In the first half of 2020 there was an IPO on the scale, but despite COVID-19, for example, 20 listings on the NASDAQ First North Growth Market.

Jens Hecht, CFA, is a managing partner of Kirchhoff Consult AG and advises medium-sized companies on the preparation and implementation of IPOs as well as in the areas of investor relations and financial reporting.

This article was originally published:

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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