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European companies exit Wall Street

European companies that staged high-profile share listings on US exchanges in the 1990’s are now giving up their expensive foray into Wall Street.

Several European groups have made the decision to quit New York’s expensive streets. Most companies say they want to give up trading in the United States because the costs are high compared to the thin volumes. In Germany, Bayer and energy company E.ON are leaving. The French groups Danone, Publicis and Suez have given up their Wall Street listings. In Switzerland, Adecco has done the same, as has British Airways.

They all took advantage of an easing in US Securities and Exchange Commission rules that made leaving Wall Street behind very difficult. Foreign companies used to be required to show they had fewer than 300 US shareholders to abandon a US listing. Since late March however, a company must only show that trade in its US-listed shares was no more than 5% of its total worldwide. (