Wiener Börse eyes Bulgarian Stock Exchange

Source: Wiener Börse

Wiener Börse has presented detailed plans to become a potential strategic investor for the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.

The presentation was made to a group of selected representatives from the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance, the Bulgarian supervisory authorities, regional banks and financial intermediaries in Sofia yesterday. A strategic investment in the Bulgarian Stock Exchange would bring Wiener Börse a step closer to its vision of cooperating with developing regional exchanges from Eastern and South Eastern Europe and by doing so, help these markets to advance and enjoy further growth. The Bulgarian government has announced plans to sell its 44% stake to a strategic investor this year. Details of the procedures for the privatization process have not yet been released by the Bulgarian government.

Wiener Börse's ongoing objective continues to focus on the regional market principle of cooperations with regional independent stock exchanges: The Bulgarian stock exchange's overall independence will not be affected. Wiener Börse helps its partners to attract international attention and by doing so raise liquidity, in order to achieve success. This assistance also includes the technical linkage between the exchanges. Specifically, Wiener Börse aims to create the technical infrastructure in order to enable market players in Sofia and Hungary to trade within an alliance, but also with third exchanges.

Good experience with home market principle

Wiener Börse firmly believes in the home market principle and actively encourages the development of local capital markets. Opportunities are significantly better on the respective home markets, especially for small and medium-sized companies, than on foreign markets. For this reason, Wiener Börse is working to strengthen the regional capital markets.

As a strategic investor, Wiener Börse will contribute the experience gained over the years. Just five years ago, international investors had little recognition of Wiener Börse but today, over 50% of trading volume is accounted for by foreign banks. The average monthly trading volumes have grown tenfold since 2002 and market capitalization has risen by EUR 100bn during the same period. Wiener Börse has already been able to contribute its know-how to the Romanian capital market under a number of cooperation agreements with the Bucharest Stock Exchange: In March 2005, the joint index, ROTX, was launched and since autumn last year Wiener Börse has also been promoting BET, the leading index of the Bucharest Stock Exchange. Since summer 2007, data from the Bucharest Stock Exchange will be available via Wiener Börse.

Wiener Börse also has close relations with the Budapest Stock Exchange in which it has held a share of 68.8% - together with an Austrian and a Hungarian bank - since 2004. Further cooperation agreements exist with the exchanges in Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Montenegro, Podgorica, Banja Luka, Macedonia and Sofia.

The stock exchange in Sofia is one of the fastest-growing capital markets in Southeast Europe: Market capitalization at the end of February was around EUR 9.6bn and trading volume on the cash market was EUR 800mn in the first two months of 2007. A total of some 350 companies are listed on the Sofia Stock Exchange.

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