Euronext and Alternext, two major financial eurozone platforms

Euronext, the leading stock exchange in the euro zone, was behind the creation of Alternext, a listing platform for SMEs.

For any growing company, access to the stock market represents a tremendous opportunity for financing, a guarantee for the continued development of its business. Since the rise of the single currency, one stock market has become an authority within the eurozone: Euronext. Alternext is less well known, but just as important for smaller companies, and it also provides access to funds for many companies.

Here is a complete summary of the information you need to distinguish between Euronext and Alternext, two stock exchanges with their own characteristics and aims.  

What is Euronext ?

Created on 22 September 2000 following the merger of the Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels stock exchanges, Euronext is Europe's main stock exchange. The main objective of its creation was to take advantage of the homogenization of the financial markets of the European Union (EU), following the introduction of the Euro single currency.  Today, Euronext manages the European cash and derivatives markets in five countries: France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal. The company has been listed on its own markets since June 20, 2014 in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. In addition, Euronext groups its 25 largest stocks into a benchmark stock market index : the Euro Stoxx 50.  

Euronext: characteristics and operations

The euro area stock exchange covers a wide range of financial products, including :

  • Stocks
  • ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)
  • Warrants 
  • Bonds
  • stock market indexes
  • equity and commodity derivatives

Euronext brings together 1,300 issuers of financial securities for a total market capitalization of nearly 3,800 billion euros. 

This gigantic market is divided into 3 compartments A, B, and C, respectively associated with companies with a capitalization of :

  • 1 billion 
  • 150 million to 1 billion euros
  • 150 million

Securities are traded continuously from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., depending on the level of supply and demand from investors. Trading volumes on Euronext are considerable. In addition, it is a regulated market.

What is Alternext ?

Renamed Euronext Growth on 19 June 2017, Alternext is a financial trading platform for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It was created on 17 May 2005 by Euronext Paris, with the aim of enabling these SMEs to access the financial markets in order to release funds. Legally, Euronext Growth is not a regulated market like Euronext, but an organised multilateral trading facility (MTF), which is still authorised and supervised.  

Alternext: characteristics and operations

Euronext Growth brings together 231 issuers of securities with a total market capitalization of nearly €16.8 billion. The platform has enabled SMEs to raise €3.4 billion in capital since 2014.  In order to be listed on the platform, a minimum market capitalization of €2.5 million is required for each company. Shares are only listed once a day, at 3pm, and only half-yearly publication of accounts is required (and not quarterly, as is the case within Euronext). Furthermore, trading volumes on the Euronext Growth platform are relatively low.  

Euronext and Alternext are two very different stock exchanges. The first is the main stock exchange in the eurozone, bringing together all the largest European market capitalisations in a gigantic market regulated and controlled by the AMF. The second, derived from the first, is a listing platform that allows SMEs to access the financial markets in order to raise funds from investors. Trading volumes are much lower and listing requirements are much less stringent than on Euronext.