CEESEG: New holding structure for the Stock Exchanges of Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague and Vienna

CEESEG: New holding structure for the Stock Exchanges of Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague and Vienna

21/01/10

Since 14 January 2010, the stock exchanges of Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague and Vienna are equal subsidiaries of the holding company, CEESEG AG. The holding company is responsible for strategic and financial management and the administration of the investments, while the business operations are taken care of by the four subsidiaries. Michael Buhl and Heinrich Schaller, who currently sit on the management board for the Vienna Stock Exchange, will preside over both companies, Wiener Börse AG and CEESEG AG. Additionally, an Advisory Body will be set up at the holding company that will include the CEOs of the exchanges of Budapest, Ljubljana and Prague. The main tasks of the Advisory Body will include the development of the group strategy and the coordination and implementation of numerous integration projects.

“With the reorganization, the stock exchange group will be given a structure that matches its new size and that will enable it to better meet the requirements of our internationalization strategy,” said Dr. Heinrich Schaller, member of the management board of CEESEG AG.

“The CEESEG has the potential to expand; over the medium to long term so we are generally open for new members. We are interested in all stock exchanges in the region, but currently are not engaged in any specific talks,” stressed Michael Buhl, member of the CEESEG management board.

More liquidity and greater international recognition for regional markets

Our primary strategic goal is to increase liquidity on the local markets and in the entire region, as well as to simplify market access for international trading participants. To this end, all four stock exchanges will be connected to the XETRA trading system. Furthermore, we aim to also draw more international attention to the stock exchanges of CEESEG by bundling, for example, international data dissemination and international index licensing, and participating in joint road shows of the four markets.

Currently, the CEESEG accounts for around half of total market capitalization and some two-thirds of all equity trading volumes in Central and Eastern Europe, making it the largest stock exchange group in the region. A total of 264 companies are listed, with more than 170 regional and international banks and brokers trading on the four exchanges and a total of 152 data vendors, which ensure the worldwide publication of the data. In 2009, the CEE Stock Exchange Group recorded robust price trends: The group index CEESEG rose by 37.8%, and the CEETX, which comprises the 25 largest companies listed on these stock exchanges, even went up by 39.9%.
 
The Vienna Stock Exchange in 2010

Buhl and Schaller plan to concentrate on liquidity this year and the Vienna Stock Exchange aims to acquire further international trading members. “The acquisition of numerous international members in past years has been very successful. Even though trading volume in monetary terms dropped by nearly half, due to the sharp price drops triggered by the international financial crisis, trading volume measured by units decreased only slightly,” said Buhl. In the previous year, the Vienna Stock Exchange – despite the difficult environment – acquired seven new trading members. This means that currently, the Vienna Stock Exchange has 90 trading members admitted to trading of which 49 are international banks, which account for almost 70% of equity turnover. In 2010, the Vienna Stock Exchange’s management board hopes to improve this high level even further.

The heads of the Vienna Stock Exchange will also focus on the inflow of fresh capital. “At present, there is quite high insecurity on timing among companies who plan to go public. We hope to see some public offerings this year though,” said Schaller. In 2010, the Vienna Stock Exchange will focus more on individual consulting for companies interested in an IPO. The mid-market segment, which was created for companies with lower capital needs, will be positioned more prominently as well.

The hostile IPO climate in the previous year resulted in record issuance levels of corporate bonds. At an issuing volume of EUR 5.2bn, the Vienna Stock Exchange saw the best year ever in corporate bonds. The Vienna Stock Exchange expects interest to remain lively in 2010.

Furthermore, the Vienna Stock Exchange has two technical projects on which it will concentrate in 2010: In spring, a new trading system, Eurex, will be implemented on the derivatives market of the Vienna Stock Exchange. This change will make it easier for international trading participants to connect to the derivatives market. In the first half-year 2010, the derivatives market for the CEGH gas exchange of the Vienna Stock Exchange will also start operation via the Eurex trading system.