Today, we are going to write about the Brussels Stock Exchange, or Euronext Brussels.
Euronext Brussels’ Place in the Global Economy
Euronext Brussels is yet another exchange belonging to the Euronext group. As a whole, this group holds the fifth place in the world (with a total market capitalization of $4T* and around 1,500 listed companies) and the first place on the continental Europe’s stock market. However, Euronext Brussels itself is rather small: only 181 companies are listed there with a total market cap of around $400B*.
An average person is unlikely to find a familiar name among the companies listed at Euronext Brussels. However, if one examines these companies more closely, one would find out that many of their products are quite famous. For instance, the largest company listed on the exchange — Anheuser-Busch Inbev — is an international brewing company that owns many famous beer brands, including Russian ones: Budweiser, Corona, Bud Light, Skol, Harbin, Klinskoye, and Sibirskaya Korona.
Euronext Brussels’ building
Belgium holds a unique place in the history of the global economy. It was where the world’s first exchanges arose in the 15th century. The merchants’ gathering in Bruges at the square next to the old Van den Burse family house gave rise to the very word for «exchange» in many European languages, such as «bourse» in French and «beurs» in Dutch. The word meant «purse», with the family’s coat of arms depicting three leather purses. The word was originally a slang term, but in 1408 merchants began to use it officially to refer to their club.
However, the first Belgian exchanges were exclusively commodities exchanges. The first stock exchange, on the other hand, appeared in Brussels quite late — in the 19th century, much later than in the Netherlands, France, or even Portugal. It opened in 1801 by Napoleon’s decree — at the same time when Napoleon resumed the operation of the Paris Bourse (now Euronext Paris). The Brussels Stock Exchange saw the most rapid development in the 1860s and the 1870s. Its current building was constructed in 1873.
In 2000, the Brussels Stock Exchange merged with the Paris Bourse (founded in 1724) and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (founded in 1602) into the Euronext group. In 2002, the group also acquired the Lisbon Stock Exchange (founded in 1769) and the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE, founded in 1982). The stock exchanges that joined the group were renamed to Euronext Paris, Euronext Amsterdam, Euronext Brussels, and Euronext Lisbon.
In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) into the gigantic conglomerate called NYSE Euronext. In 2013 it was in turn acquired by the Intercontinental Exchange company and reorganized. LIFFE was once again split off from Euronext, and now Euronext consists only of stock exchanges that are part of Intercontinental Exchange. However, these exchanges remain de facto autonomous, so we review them all individually.
What an Investor Should Keep in Mind
Continental European markets are not as popular with online brokers as the Anglo-Saxon ones, and Euronext Brussels is not considered one of the world’s top stock exchanges. However, most of the major brokers provide access to the entire Euronext group, including Euronext Brussels. Obviously, the broker must provide direct market access, or DMA, to the exchange, rather than simply offering contracts for difference, or CFDs. EXANTE is one of the brokers that give DMA to Euronext Brussels.
The full list of companies traded on Euronext Brussels can be seen on the Stock Screener service at msn.com (pick «Belgium» as a Country/Region, and «Brussels» as an Exchange). Let us see which companies hold the first place in this year according to various criteria. If a needed criterion is missing, add it in Filters by clicking «+».
The first place by market capitalization is held by the Anheuser-Busch Inbev brewing company that we have already mentioned (ticker symbol ABI, market cap €162B). The first places by six-months price increase are held by a global recycling company, Envipco (ticker symbol ENVI, market cap €33M*, price increase 179%) and a Belgium-based company engaged in renewable energy, 4Energy Invest (ticker symbol ENINV, market cap €57M, price increase 149%). The P/E ratio (6.6 and 3.2 accordingly) of both companies is quiet low, which will more likely lead to a possible future growth. The highest one-year earnings increases of 7010% и 2940% are claimed by property developer, Immobiliere de Belgique, (ticker symbol IMMO, market cap €555M, P/E 7.5) and by 4Energy Invest accordingly.
Euronext Brussels has some rather expensive shares. For example, the shares of the Société Commerciale de Brasserie brewing company (ticker symbol COBH, market cap €226M) and the Banque Nationale de Belgique SA (ticker symbol BNB, market cap €1.2B) cost around €3000. These shares have low liquidity: the average daily trading volume for them is 4 and 100 shares respectively. Since it is the National Bank of Belgium we are talking about in our second example, this is an extremely low amount. The exchange’s most popular shares also belong to its largest company, Anheuser-Busch Inbev. It sells around 1M of its shares a day, each costing around €100.
The entire Euronext group works from 11:00 to 19:30 Moscow time (9:00 to 17:30 Brussels time).
* The letters stand for large numbers. T stands for trillions, B stands for billions, and M stands for millions.