(Australian Associated Press)
The company behind the Australian stock exchange believes it has found the global ‘sweet spot’ for attracting companies to list on the local market.
The ASX topped global exchanges in 2016 with 133 new listings, outstripping giants like New York’s NASDAQ exchange by 42 new listings and its nearest competitor, the Hong Kong exchange by 18 listings.
Chief executive Dominic Stevens said Australia is becoming an attractive capital raising destination for technology firms and offshore companies.
“ASX is developing what we see as a global ‘sweet spot’ – that is, listing companies in the $50-$500 million market cap range, underpinned by our market’s liquidity, our contemporary rules and guidance, and the quality of our corporate governance standards,” Mr Stevens told the company’s annual general meeting.
The ASX attracted 40 new technology companies in the last financial year, and the tech sector is now the exchange’s third largest, with over 200 listings.
“We’re attracting a mix of large companies like MYOB and WiseTech, and many smaller high growth companies from home and abroad, such as Catapult and Afterpay,” Mr Stevens said.
In the last three years the ASX has also listed 100 foreign companies – including 39 in 2017 – from countries including Israel, Singapore, the US and Germany.
ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said the ASX ranks around the middle of the global top ten on a “dollar raised” basis.
“We punch above our weight,” he told shareholders.
Mr Stevens said the CEO of a recently listed Israeli company ultimately went with the ASX because of the complexity and red tape of other exchanges, calling the ASX “just right”.
“His company listed on our single, main board; there was liquidity and a knowledgeable analyst community; and in the words of the CEO, the process was more straight-forward,” Mr Stevens said
ASX shareholders unanimously approved an increase of the cap on ASX’s pay for its non-executive directors, from $2.8 million to $3 million, in response to an increase in the number of ASX directors from nine to ten, and changes to directors’ responsibilities.