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After three and a half years, Borsa Italiana's Nuovo Mercato has confirmed its importance in supporting the growth and the competitiveness of the Italian companies within the high tech and innovative sectors.

The third Nuovo Mercato Road Show is an opportunity for the listed companies and the financial community to meet and discuss their results and future prospects.


Market Data

Nuovo Mercato was launched on 17 June 1999 (with Opengate's IPO), and today counts a membership of 45 listed companies, a market capitalisation of €7.6 billion and an average daily turnover of €38 million.

The Nuovo Mercato companies feature the most important innovative and high growth sectors:

17% IT distribution

13% High Tech Manufacturing

13% Software

11% Internet companies

9% ISP & Telecoms

9% System Integration

7% Entertainment

7% Media

4% Biotechnologies

4% Investment Companies

2% Financial Services

2% Web services

2% other.

Following the Blue Chips, the Nuovo Mercato companies have the highest turnover velocity (turnover/capitalisation ratio) among listed companies on all segments of Borsa Italiana and are more liquid than those of comparable size belonging to the ordinary segment of the Borsa and the Mercato Ristretto.




International Comparisons

In this sector, Nuovo Mercato is number two in Europe after the German Neuer Markt in both capitalisation and turnover.

At a European level, the Nuovo Mercato companies rank among those with the largest capitalisation, the most traded and those that have the highest turnover velocity ratios. Among the top five European companies with the highest capitalisation, three belong to Nuovo Mercato. Of the 30 most traded European shares, four companies belong to Nuovo Mercato.

Volatility at 35.2% is in-line with the principal markets dedicated to high-growth companies.


Company Data

At the time of listing, the Nuovo Mercato companies were an average of 9 years old with an average placed float of 29.3% (38.9% in October). In particular, 10 companies had a float of more than 50%, 18 companies between 30% and 50%, 12 companies between 20% and 30% and 5 companies less than 20%.

The average capitalisation per company was €170 million at the end of October.

As of today, there are 3 dual listings of companies which are also listed on other European markets (BB Biotech, Aisoftware and Algol). There is one foreign company listed (BB Biotech) and as of the beginning of 2003 we could have the first listing of a U.S. company on the Italian Nuovo Mercato with the completion of the merger between Biosearch Italy and the US company Versicor, listed on Nasdaq.

The listed companies have grown both organically and by acquisition, carrying out 184 acquisitions enabling them to become leaders in their business sector. They have an annual rate of employment growth of 51.7%. At the end of 2001 they employed more than 21,000 people.

Even at a difficult time for innovative sectors, these companies have posted positive results in their 2002 H1 financial reports. About three quarters of the listed companies show growth in turnover compared to the first half of 2001, while about half of the companies recorded growth in assets. In the last Mediobanca report, three Nuovo Mercato companies are among the most dynamic in 2001 with a rise in revenues of more than 20% and a net profit on sales higher than 4%.

The companies are also solid from a financial point of view: 56% of the companies have a positive net financial position, 58% of the companies have a positive EBITDA and 33% have a positive EBIT.


Corporate Governance and Transparency

All the Nuovo Mercato companies provide information about the composition of their Boards of Directors, 91% have named an internal control committee, 84% have adopted an internal procedure for handling confidential information and 100% have an Investor Relations Manager.

The Boards of Directors consist of 63% non-executive directors (more than half of them are independent) and 37% executive directors.

The Nuovo Mercato companies are very active in communicating over the Internet: all have an investor relations section and publish their financial data and almost 80% simultaneously publish press releases in English.


Analyst Coverage

During 2002, analysts published an average of eight research papers per company, while 36 brokers - including 16 foreign - produced at least one study of a listed company during the year.

New Listings and Delistings

The Italian Nuovo Mercato has not been involved in delisting operations, which have affected other markets throughout Europe and the USA from 1999 to 2002.



Cumulative 1999-2002 Data:

Nasdaq USA 978 IPOs and 2828 delistings

Neuer Markt 290 IPOs and 105 delistings

Nouveau Marché 96 IPOs and 21 delistings

Nasdaq Europe 30 IPOs and 33 delistings

Swiss New Market 17 IPOs and 4 delistings


Regulatory Changes

In addition to recent Borsa Italiana initiatives, such as the new regulations governing internal dealing, the Code of Conduct and the Guide to market information, Borsa Italiana is in the process of approving new rules in support of liquidity, transparency and Corporate Governance for Nuovo Mercato companies.

Among the anticipated regulatory changes is an increase in the level of the float and net shareholder's equity during the admission phase, lending securities for shares subject to lock-up and the presence of institutional investors in risk capital and/or strategic industrial partners with equity holdings not less than 10% of the capital for companies requesting admission with less than three years of financial statements. Admission criteria and ongoing requirements based on corporate governance (minimum number of independent directors, internal control committee and compensation committee) will also be introduced.


Nuovo Mercato Partners

The Network of Nuovo Mercato Partners, which today numbers 87 professionals - financial brokers, consulting and auditing companies, legal offices, public relations companies and honorary partners - is working with Borsa Italiana to promote the market and to spread equity culture.


Milan, 20 November 2002

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