Bulgaria's Bourse Sale Fails

Finance | March 14, 2013, Thursday // 13:46|  views

The building of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange in Sofia. Photo by Sophia Photo Agency

Bulgaria has given up on plans to find an investor for its only stock exchange and sell it during the first quarter of 2013.

Bulgaria's Finance Ministry, which holds a 50.0542% stake, suspended the sale procedure at the end of February in the wake of the shocking resignation of the former government, headed by Boyko Borisov, the bourse announced on Thursday.

According to BSE Chief Executive Ivan Takev the bourse is worth about EUR 10 M, which means a sale of the stake would be worth around EUR 5 M.

However, the depository is not a listed firm, so its valuation and sale price were to be calculated by the consultants in charge of selling the assets.

According to insiders the government initially hoped to sell the majority stake in the bourse by the end of 2011, but its plans went sour over lack of bidders. The deadline was later moved to the first quarter of 2013.

Shortly after the Bulgarian Stock Exchange launched the sale of its shares in January 2011, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov announced that there is a "huge" interest among investors.

CEE Stock Exchange Group however was the only one to openly declare its interest, but no detailed talks have been held so far.

Bulgaria's only stock exchange became a public company in the middle of December 2010 after the Financial Supervision Commission approved its prospectus and the bourse was listed on its own platform. The capital of the bourse is a total of BGN 6 582 860 at BGN 1 apiece.

Bulgaria's Finance Ministry raised at the beginning of October that year its share to 50% plus one share from 44% in the country's stock exchange. The government bought 715,000 shares at BN 1 apiece. The bourse planned to sell the remaining 50% held by private investors including brokerages and banks.

The shareholders said the move aimed to ease the future privatisation of the exchange and the search for a strategic investor.

Since 2008, the stock exchange has traded on the Deutsche Boerse's Xetra platform under a contract that expires in 2012. Bulgaria has discussed ways to sell its bourse stake over the past decade with Sweden's OMX AG and exchanges in Austria, Greece and Poland to boost interest in local stocks and make trading more transparent.

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Tags: Ivan Takev, Simeon Djankov, finance minister, Financial Supervision Commission, Victor Papazov, Bulgarian Stock Exchange, Finance Ministry, stock exchange, Bulgaria, Bulbrokers Consulting, Patria Corporate Finance, Deloitte


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