Greek and Cypriot bourses are looking at closer ties

The Athens Stock Exchange and its Cypriot counterpart said yesterday they plan to pool their resources and strengthen their ties in a move designed to help the two bourses counter intensifying global competition. In a joint statement issued yesterday, the Athens and Nicosia stock exchanges and the Athens Derivatives Exchange said bourse executives met late last week and concluded that it was necessary for the two organizations to reinforce their cooperation in view of the competitive global environment. The Athens bourse’s efforts to forge closer links with Cyprus marks its second link-up with a foreign stock exchange. It signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Belgrade stock exchange in November 2000. Under the agreement, the two bodies agreed to work together on technical and institutional issues with the objective of setting up a clearing system in the Yugoslav capital. The Athens bourse had said Belgrade would act as its springboard into the Balkans. By staking out a presence in southeastern Europe, Greece hopes to be viewed as a representative for the Balkans, thereby strengthening its standing. Even as it expands its role in the Balkan region, the Athens exchange has also sent out feelers to the major European bourses, without any success to date. The bourse said yesterday that its head, Panayiotis Alexakis, is due to visit Cyprus on March 12 to sign a protocol of cooperation which will see the two bodies swap their technological expertise and cooperate in equity trading and clearing issues. It is also due to do a study on the prospects of setting up a derivatives market in Cyprus. A working committee will look into the practicality of dual listings on both markets, the introduction of a joint order book and the possibility of allowing listed companies on either bourse to be recognized by the other. The team is scheduled to finalize its report by the end of the year.

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