Europe's most-important stock indices, the EuroStoxx 50 and Stoxx 50, announced late Wednesday they would remove German blue chip companies Volkswagen and Bayer from their lists of top European companies.
The shine has been off Volkswagen shares this year
The move followed a recent plunge in Volkswagen's shares. By midday on Thursday, the company's shares had fallen by 1.26 percent to €31.42 ($38.22). Earlier this year, Volkswagen was still trading over the €40 mark. Two days ago, Volkswagen announced that its sales in the United States fell by close to 30 percent in August, and that sales at its Audi subsidiary were down 22 percent.
A company spokesman in Wolfsburg said Volkswagen officials were disappointed by the decision to remove the company, adding that weak sales in the car industry as well as the high value of the euro against other currencies had slowed business. But he added there were also temporary factors the played a role that didn't represent an accurate view of Volkswagen's prospects.
The spokesman added that Volkswagen had already implemented cost-cutting measures and announced new car lines for the coming year and that officials are convinced the company will regain its position on the EuroStoxx 50 index.
France tops EuroStoxx 50 list
The change will increase the strength of the banking sector within the EuroStoxx 50 index, which focuses on continental European countries. The move will also place France at the top of the list as the country with the biggest businesses, with 16 total entries on EuroStoxx 50. Germany trails in second place with 12 entries.
In a separate development, it was also announced the German chemical giant Bayer, along with Volkswagen, would be removed from the Stoxx 50 index, a broader stock portfolio that also includes British, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Swiss companies. Bayer shares fell 1.24 percent to €20.70 on Thursday following the news.