It makes you sit up and take notice when a valuable company goes public and everyone is given the opportunity to participate financially. Birkenstock AG, a well-known German branded goods retailer, is offering some of its shares to a broad public for investment in September. It is noticeable that the IPO is by no means taking place in Germany, but rather, as with Biontech, in the USA. There is a trend in this. The British semiconductor manufacturer Arm Holdings also bypassed its home stock exchange in London last week and focused on the US trading floor.
Christoph Bruns is a fund manager, board member and main shareholder of the Loys AG fund company. You can find more “Capital” columns by Christoph Bruns here.
It is obvious why the current owners decide to go public in the USA. America is the world center of the stock market. A large, broad and deep financial market infrastructure in New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, San Francisco and many other US metropolises contributes significantly to the country's prosperity. The largest capital collection agencies in the world are based in the United States.
What's more: valuation premiums are achieved on the American stock exchange compared to other stock exchanges. In this regard, compare the stock valuations of competitors Nike and Adidas. You will immediately notice the advantage that the Americans have over the Herzogenaurachers. While Nike is more than twice as big as Adidas in terms of sales, its market value is almost five times as high as that of Herzogenaurach.
It is no different with Exxon and Shell. These easily comparable companies are valued very differently. While Shell has a current price-to-earnings ratio of 7.5, Exxon's ratio is 12.5. Further examples could be added without difficulty.
The Birkenstock IPO in the USA is emblematic of the German equity culture, after the most expensive German company, Linde, turned its back on the stock exchange just a few months ago. The connection between prosperity and the stock market has remained largely unknown to German politicians and the population in recent decades. Some experts even speak of financial illiteracy. At the same time, wealth statistics regularly show how much Germans are left behind by other countries with a stronger stock orientation.
So what would it be like if Germany's economics minister took care of improving the stock market climate in this country? Of course, this would have to start in schools and educational institutions.
This article first appeared here in the business magazine "Capital", which, like stern, is part of RTL Deutschland.