Mumbai: What’s in a name? Some fun and playfulness, if you’re trading as a public company with a catchy stock ticker.
Shares of two Indian companies—Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) and InterGlobe Aviation Ltd—will start trading on Indian stock exchanges soon. Both run well-known Indian brands, Cafe Coffee Day coffee chain and IndiGo airline, respectively.
Will these companies pick stock ticker symbols (the code under which a company trades on the exchanges) which reflect their consumer brand? If the trend on Indian bourses is anything to go by, the answer is no.
Most Indian companies tend to be unimaginative in picking their ticker symbols and use an abridged version of their company names. Going by that trend, Coffee Day Enterprises may pick CDEL and InterGlobe may pick an abbreviation of its name.
But it wouldn’t hurt for these companies to have a little fun and pick smart ticker symbols which build on their core brand. That’s something a lot of international firms do.
For example, Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange last week, named its ticker RACE, a word which clearly defines what the company does best—make fast cars, really fast ones. The company didn’t opt for a straightforward ticker; they decided to play around and came up with a gem.
Ferrari is not alone when it comes to having catchy stock symbols.
The world’s largest beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the maker of the popular beer Budweiser, trades on the NYSE under the symbol BUD. US-based craft brewer Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits which plans to list on Nasdaq, intends to name its ticker symbol PINT.
American stock exchanges have several more examples of really clever stock symbols, such as COOL used by a game developer and BOOM used by a metals maker which uses explosives.
For a list of interesting ticker symbols, click here.
Indian firms could take a leaf out of the book of these international firms and get a little creative with their ticker symbols.
CDEL could pick CCD (the name of their coffee chain) if they wanted to draw on their brand. Or better yet, why not COFFEE? That will drive home the point that the company, which claims to be the café pioneer of the country, runs India’s largest chain of coffee shops.
InterGlobe can take the easy way and list with IndiGo as the symbol. But how about 6E (which sounds like ‘sexy’), the airline’s Iata (International Air Transport Association) code? The airline’s inflight magazine is called Hello 6E. 6E has also been heavily used in all its IPO advertisements. Here’s how a recent front page ad in Mint began—‘The good, the great and the 6E’. There is a strong case for the firm to pick 6E as the stock ticker symbol.
A quick survey of top 500 stocks on the NSE shows that only a few Indian firms are using symbols different from the names of the companies. Info Edge (India) Ltd uses NAUKRI, referring to the job hunting portal that the firm runs and United Spirits Ltd uses MCDOWELL, the name of its most popular brand.
It is not that Indian stock exchanges don’t give freedom to companies to choose their symbols. They do. Why not use that freedom to pick an interesting ticker symbol? Sure, eventually, all that matters to investors is the performance of the stock. But it doesn’t hurt to have some fun along the way.