OMX extends First North alternative market to Sweden

Source: OMX

OMX launches the Nordic alternative market First North in Sweden, offering smaller and growing companies easy access to the Nordic and global financial markets.

The requirements on First North are lighter than on OMX's regulated markets. Trading on First North in Sweden is planned to start on June 12, 2006 and is yet another step towards broadening the services for Nordic companies and investors.

First North was launched in Denmark in 2005 and OMX is now expanding the concept in the Nordic region by developing the Swedish "Nya Marknaden" into First North. First North, which will include a range of new services compared to Nya Marknaden, will offer listing and trading in SEK-, EUR- and DKK denominated shares. Companies will be able to disclose information in English, Swedish, Danish or Norwegian. This, in combination with the fact that listing and trading is offered in different currencies, gives First North great flexibility. From June 12, it will consist of approximately 50 companies.

"Through First North, we make it easier for growing companies to raise risk capital and thus support growth in the Nordic region. First North offers the companies increased visibility and access to Northern Europe's largest pool of capital. The expansion of First North gives investors a wider variety of investment opportunities. For smaller companies, First North can be seen as the first step towards our main market on the Nordic Exchange," says Jukka Ruuska, President of the Nordic Marketplaces, OMX.

There will be an All Share index available on First North in SEK. The companies will be classified according to the international Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), already in place at OMX's exchanges. The industry classification facilitates international benchmarking of the companies by providing clearly defined and larger peer groups.

Each company on First North in Sweden will have a designated Certified Advisor, who is a member at OMX's exchanges or another professional financial advisor. The advisors continuously monitor the companies as regards fulfillment and compliance to First North requirements. When merited, the Certified Advisors can initiate investigations and the exchange can impose sanctions on the companies.

Trading is conducted in the same trading system as OMX's regulated markets so that an extensive network of national and international investors have easy access to the companies traded on First North. A substantial investor base is supported by the fact that all members on the Stockholm Stock Exchange will have automatic access to First North as of June 12. Consequently, companies traded on First North will benefit by broad exposure.

The development of First North is in line with EU directive regarding so called Multi-lateral Trading Facilities (MTFs). In due course, the marketplace will also be launched in Finland and the aim is to eventually create a fully pan-Nordic First North.

The necessary application for First North has been sent to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) and is currently being processed. The launch of First North is pending application approval by the FSA.

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