Looking back on our German Corporate Conference
Friday 02 February 2024
From 15 to 17 January 2024, UniCredit and Kepler Cheuvreux jointly hosted the German Corporate Conference (GCC). This year’s event proved once again to be one of the leading equities platforms for companies, experts, and investors to exchange views on key developments, themes, and ideas that might influence the economy and markets in 2024 and beyond.
During the three-day event spanning 2,500 one-on-one meetings, we were pleased to welcome 141 listed companies from Germany and Austria, twelve expert speakers and almost 400 institutional investors from around the globe, sharing their thinking not only on the new financial year but also on how business models are set to evolve amid the global challenges we are facing.
The key message from the GCC is that while visibility is somewhat limited, German & Austrian corporate sentiment for 2024 remains robust.
At the GCC last year, Corporate Germany provided a very upbeat message, which came as a clear surprise following the events of 2022. This reflected expectations about the reopening of China, combined with the end of the gas crisis. And while equity markets rallied during the final quarter of 2023, sentiment during this year's event was constructive but more cautious. Visibility appears to be limited in many sectors including autos, chemicals, and capital goods.
The geopolitical experts in attendance, Prof. Dr. Guntram Wolff, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, and Dr. Janka Oertel, Director of the Asian Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, primarily focused on the major challenges that the world, and a united Europe in particular, are facing.
All geopolitical risks are clearly seen as a downside risk for macroeconomic development, with Germany being most vulnerable due to its heavily export-oriented economy. In addition, significant investment lies ahead, in order to build up defence, navigate the energy transition, and address demographic trends.
The intensifying role of China and the competition it poses to Germany and Europe’s export-driven industries was also discussed in many sessions.
Yet despite these significant challenges, the business outlook given by the majority of the companies attending this year’s GCC was more positive than the current general perception.
“The German Corporate Conference is the perfect start into every new year. Not only the promotion of a bilateral exchange between individual corporates and investors, but also exchanging ideas intensively with our clients is more important than ever. The precise knowledge of our customers' challenges creates the basis for UniCredit to continue developing customized financing and capital markets services. At UniCredit we are fully committed to delivering best-in-class solutions that meet all our client’s need and support our clients in the best possible way." said Jan Kupfer, Head of Corporates Germany.
In cooperation with Kepler Cheuvreux, UniCredit offers one of the leading pan-European equities platform with peerless investor reach, unmatched distribution capabilities, top-ranked equity research and outstanding deal flow, having successfully completed 150+ ECM transactions in Europe over the past five years. Our platform has nearly 1,000 stocks under research coverage and access to 1,200+ investors in Europe.
Samuel Kendall, Head of Advisory & Financing Solutions, added: “The GCC is the unique platform to showcase our expertise in Equity Capital Markets thanks to the strong partnership of UniCredit and Kepler Cheuvreux. We are proud of being the most active ECM house in Germany, which is the result of a relationship of trust with our clients and business partners thanks to our profound market knowledge. Being our client’s trusted advisor is at the very center of our efforts as we continue to lead with content and insights regardless of the product. We are looking forward to continuing the intense and strategic dialogue with our clients.”
Looking ahead, we expect ECM activity to increase this year as the supply of follow-on and IPO activity increases. Central bank reversals, US elections and global geopolitical developments will shape ECM activity in the coming months.
Moreover, we expect ECM transactions to be triggered by specific growth projects, capital restructuring and streamlining of corporate structures, with investors expected to support them with a selective approach to leverage and liquidity.
At UniCredit, we are looking forward to supporting our clients and helping them to unlock their potential. This is how we will be the bank for Europe's future – a bank that delivers for all stakeholders and businesses across Europe and empowers them to progress.
Source: Dealogic; 1 Jan – 31 Dec 2023, as of 3 Jan 2024.