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Capital Markets

CEE exchange consolidation: Fair exchange

Stock exchange consolidation is back in focus in emerging Europe after the appointment of a new head for the Warsaw bourse. Further tie-ups across the region could yet prove politically problematic.

In October 2010, when Poland’s state treasury launched an IPO of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the bourse was riding high. Buoyed by a series of hugely successful privatizations and backstopped by the deep pockets of the country’s private pension funds, the WSE had become a favourite venue for international investors and had begun to attract listings from elsewhere in emerging Europe – indeed, it was widely tipped to become the dominant exchange in region, a position previously held by the Vienna Stock Exchange.

Ludwik Sobolewski
I think that very small markets are not able to substantially change their situation through any sort of links or linkages and for small ones, but with potential for growth, this is not a viable option either
Ludwik Sobolewski

Four years on, the picture is much less rosy. Not only has the WSE parted company with the man who oversaw its rise to international prominence – former CEO Ludwik Sobolewski was forced to resign in January 2013 over allegations that he had solicited listed companies to finance a film starring his girlfriend – but also the supply of new stocks has slumped as Poland’s long privatization process has ground to a halt.

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