HELEX soars on Euronext tie-up

Hellenic Exchanges yesterday posted its biggest one-day gain in Athens trading after NYSE Euronext Deputy Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois Theodore said he’s considering a tie-up with the exchange. Shares in Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Greek bourse, climbed as much as 18 percent, before closing with a 12.5 percent gain. The jump was the biggest since shares began trading in August 2000. «We’re looking at development possibilities other than organic growth, Warsaw in Northeastern Europe and Athens in Southeastern Europe,» Theodore said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. «For now there’s nothing firm, but these are interesting stock exchanges that experienced development over the last years.» Exchanges are racing to meet investor demand for a low-cost way to trade across asset classes and time zones, striking more than $41 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions in the past year, according to Bloomberg data. In Athens, Spyros Kapralos, chief executive officer of Hellenic Exchanges, said he has yet to receive a specific proposal from NYSE Euronext. «We’re talking to bigger and smaller stock exchanges in the framework of possibilities, like all exchanges, but there’s nothing specific,» he said in a phone interview. «When we see specific proposals, we study them and decide on them in the interest of our shareholders and stakeholders in the Greek market.» Hellenic Exchanges, which also operates Athens’s derivatives exchanges, has a market value of -1.6 billion ($2.35 billion). The shares last year gained 77 percent as longer trading hours, share sales and new products boosted profit. NYSE Euronext, owner of seven securities markets in Europe and the US, said on January 17 it will buy the American Stock Exchange for $260 million to capture a bigger share of the options and fund-trading businesses. NYSE Euronext was formed in April 2007 by NYSE Group Inc’s purchase of Euronext NV. (Bloomberg)