ECONOMY

Athens bourse aims for leading role in Balkans

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) – A possible acquisition of the Ljubljana bourse could help Hellenic Exchanges assume a leading role in the region, the Greek holding company which owns the Athens stock and futures markets said. The company, which is one of the remaining four bidders in the race for 64.15 percent of Slovenia’s only exchange, said yesterday it planned to create a single large capital market by connecting small fragmented regional bourses. «We can make the Ljubljana Stock Exchange the basis for the consolidation of other stock exchanges in the region,» Spyros Capralos, chief executive of the Greek bourse, told a news conference in Slovenia’s capital. «Slovenia can help us further develop business in the neighboring countries,» he added. The four bidders have to submit binding bids by March 28, the company representing the Ljubljana bourse owners said but did not reveal the bidders’ names. The bourse is expected to be sold in June. According to the local media, the Warsaw and Vienna bourses, as well as Nordic bourse operator OMX, are also still in the race. Ljubljana bourse owners rejected a takeover bid last year by OMX, which offered 125.19 euros per share, valuing the exchange at 4.2 million euros ($6.64 million). Local media say new bids are expected to be significantly above that and could go as high as 700 euros per share. Capralos declined to comment on the bid price. There are 188 securities listed on the Ljubljana bourse with total market capitalization of some 24.3 billion euros.