Ljubljana Stock Exchange Sold to Zagreb Counterpart


The Zagreb Stock Exchange signed an agreement to take over 100% of LJSE shares from CEESEG following exclusive negotiations running since late June, a release on the LJSE web page reads.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the final quarter of the year upon the regulatory approval in both countries and following a capital increase by the Zagreb Stock Exchange.

The two parties agreed not to disclose the price of the transaction, but the STA learnt from CEESEG in Vienna that the Zagreb Stock Exchange had made a "very attractive" offer.

Meanwhile, the business daily Finance cited unofficial information which put the purchase price at between EUR 1m and 1.5m.

This is only a fraction of the EUR 47m that Wiener Börse, which later transformed into CEESEG, paid in acquiring the Ljubljana Stock Exchange seven years ago.

The Ljubljana and Zagreb stock market operators have a long history of cooperation, for example through organisation of events for potential investors.

Since being taken over in October 2008 by Wiener Börse, the Ljubljana Stock Exchange has contracted both in terms of operations and number of companies listed.

Many of the companies have been sold so they delisted, while turnover in the shares of the remaining public companies is modest.

In addition to the share purchase agreement, the Vienna Stock Exchange and the Zagreb Stock Exchange also signed a letter of intent to form a partnership focused on sharing their trading technology.

Commenting on the decision, Michael Buhl and Petr Koblic, CEESEG management board members, said: "We have an excellent track record and cooperation network in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and we are very pleased to expand it further."

The pair was also cited as saying that the Ljubljana Stock Exchange "will continue to benefit from the services and synergies we have provided over the past years".

Meanwhile, Ivana Gažić, chairman of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, said that the Zagreb and the Ljubljana stock exchanges shared a similar development path and financial system framework, with similarities between both capital markets in terms of development, structure and potential.

"Investors in these two markets often consider them as one, and Croatian investors hold considerable interests in Slovenian companies.

"We expect the Ljubljana Stock Exchange takeover by the Zagreb Stock Exchange to yield positive effects for both exchanges and capital markets, while also resulting in numerous synergies," Gažić was cited in the press release.

She expects the transaction to reflect positively in turnovers of both exchanges.

The Zagreb Stock Exchange has almost 300 financial instruments listed. It comprises a regulated market and an MTF.

The latest available data show the biggest single owner of the Zagreb Stock Exchange is Investco with 9.9%, followed by Interkapital with 8.6%. The Croatian postal bank owns about 20% through its subsidiaries.

CEESEG confirmed it was considering selling the LJSE a while ago, saying that interest had been considerable.

The officials there told the STA today that they were satisfied with the LJSE's performance last year, when the stock exchange posted a profit of EUR 279,480. Positive operations continue this year despite a slow down in trading.

Market capitalisation of shares listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange at the end of June was EUR 5.9bn with the average monthly turnover at EUR 60m.

The most active issues in the SBI TOP index are the shares of pharma company Krka, telco Telekom Slovenije, energy company Petrol and household appliances maker Gorenje.