Vienna stock exchange to bid for Prague bourse

Business Materials 27 August 2008 23:31 (UTC +04:00)

Wiener Boerse AG, Vienna's stock exchange, expressed interest Wednesday in buying a majority stake of the Prague Stock Exchange, Austrian news agency APA reported.

"If we are asked to make an offer, we will do so," Wiener Boerse CEO Heinrich Schaller told reporters at the European Forum Alpbach conference. "Basically, we were invited to do so," he added.

In early August, the Prague Stock Exchange (PSE) announced shareholders controlling a majority stake in the bourse had decided to jointly sell their shares within several months.

The deadline for submitting non-binding offers runs out at the end of August.

Schaller said the Vienna bourse would not seek a fusion with Prague, stressing the importance of regional stock exchanges.

As of December 2007, the Prague exchange was owned by 27 companies. Major shareholders include the Patria Finance brokerage, which holds 24.85 per cent, as well as the Komercni and Ceska Sporitelna banks.

The Vienna stock exchange strengthened its position in central Europe in June by announcing to increase its stake in the Budapest Stock Exchange to 37.7 per cent, and by acquiring 81 per cent of the Slovenian exchange in Ljubljana for 38 million euros (56 million dollars), dpa reported.

"Through a bigger network, you have more synergies," Schaller said. "This helps our exchange, markets and issuers."