What Is the Paris Stock Exchange (PAR)?
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What Is the Paris Stock Exchange (PAR)?

5 Min.

The Parisian bourse, established in the 18th century, enables the public trading of French stocks. During the 2000s, it became a founding member of Euronext, joining forces with stock exchanges in Amsterdam and Brussels. Euronext later merged with NYSE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange. Eventually, NYSE merged with ICE and underwent a split into various units, including Euronext N.V.

Basics

The Paris Stock Exchange, now known as Euronext Paris, operates as an integral division of Euronext N.V. This financial institution facilitates trading equities and derivatives while serving as the platform for the prominent CAC 40 Index. Comprising 40 notable French corporations boasting the most substantial market capitalizations, the CAC 40 Index remains a significant indicator within the financial landscape.

Exploring the Paris Stock Exchange (PAR)

The Paris Stock Exchange, historically known as the Paris Bourse, boasts a storied legacy in financial exchanges. Established in 1724, it represents one of continental Europe's earliest integrated stock exchanges. For over 150 years, its headquarters resided within the magnificent Palais Brongniart, a symbol of its enduring presence. In a strategic move during the 1980s, the exchange embarked on an electronic trading integration initiative aimed at competing with the London Stock Exchange in the United Kingdom.

The evolution continued as Euronext emerged in 2000, resulting from the amalgamation of the Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam exchanges. Subsequently, the Lisbon Stock Exchange in Portugal joined this collaborative venture. Companies must engage in comprehensive listing agreements and adhere to specific eligibility criteria to secure a listing on prominent exchanges like Euronext. The requirements vary depending on the chosen market, be it Euronext or Euronext Access.

For Euronext, enterprises must maintain a free float exceeding 25% of their market capitalization or at least 5 million euros. Additionally, they must furnish three years of audited financial statements and adhere to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) accounting principles.

The CAC 40 Index

The CAC 40, derived from "Cotation Assistée en Continu," translating to "continuous assisted trading," serves as a pivotal benchmark index for French stock market investments and provides insights into the overall direction of Euronext Paris.

This index reflects the market's pulse through a capitalization-weighted assessment of the 40 most influential companies with the highest market capitalizations, akin to the role played by the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the United States. Notable companies featured in the CAC 40 include industry giants such as L'Oreal, Renault, and Michelin. The index's largest constituent, as of June 10, 2022, is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), boasting a market capitalization of $303.15 billion.

An autonomous steering committee conducts quarterly evaluations of the CAC 40's composition. During these reviews, companies listed on Euronext Paris are assessed based on their free-float market capitalization and share turnover from the previous year. Of the top 100 companies, 40 are selected for inclusion in the CAC 40. In cases where a company has multiple shares on the exchange, only the most actively traded class is considered for index inclusion.

Euronext's Expansion and Ownership Structure

Euronext's expansion journey encompasses several significant milestones. The Amsterdam stock exchange, established in 1602, marked its origins with the Dutch East India Company's sale of shares to fund its operations.

In 2000, Euronext underwent a significant merger, followed by acquiring the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange a year later. In 2006, a momentous merger agreement worth $9.9 billion was reached with the NYSE Group.

Subsequent years witnessed further progress, including introducing the Universal Trading Platform in 2008, offering electronic trading for bonds, equities, options, and futures. Euronext London emerged in 2010 to attract international issuers.

However, despite approval from U.S. antitrust authorities for Deutsche Börse's $10 billion acquisition of NYSE Euronext in 2010, the European Union blocked the merger in 2012. This merger would have created the world's largest multi-market trading exchange.

In 2013, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) stepped in, acquiring NYSE Euronext for $8.2 billion. ICE restructured NYSE Euronext operations, launching Euronext N.V. in June 2014 through a public offering at an initial price of €20 per share, raising $1.9 billion.

Following the IPO, a consortium of 11 investment groups, known as "reference shareholders," acquired significant stakes in the company, including Euroclear, BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas Fortis, Société Générale, Caisse des Dépôts, BPI France, ABN Amro, and ASR. Collectively, they held 33.36% of Euronext's capital and committed to a three-year lockup period, retaining three seats on the nine-member board.

Conclusion

The Parisian bourse, established in the 18th century, was crucial in enabling the public trading of French stocks. This led to its integration into Euronext, which later merged with NYSE, ultimately resulting in the formation of Euronext N.V. Euronext Paris, formerly the Paris Stock Exchange, continues to facilitate the trading of equities and derivatives and hosts the CAC 40 Index, a significant benchmark. The CAC 40 Index represents the 40 most influential French companies, providing valuable market insights. From the Amsterdam stock exchange's inception to navigating mergers and acquisitions, Euronext's expansion showcases its evolution and resilience in the global financial landscape. The consortium of "reference shareholders" further solidifies its stability and governance.

Paris Stock Exchange (PAR)
Euronext
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