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Opinion

Swiss make play for Eurobond market

Disclosure rules are forcing issuers to consider listing outside the EU, reports Michael Evans. Switzerland's SWX sees an opportunity to win business from its European rivalsThe Swiss Exchange (SWX) has launched its first offensive in what promises to be a long battle to snatch Eurobond business away from London and Luxembourg. Last month, representatives of the exchange visited capital markets law firms in London in a bid to convince lawyers of the benefits to non-EU issuers of switching to SWX. The SWX sales pitch is based on new rules unveiled on November 15. These make a Swiss listing relatively easy at a time when Europe's transparency and prospectus directives will impose costly reporting requirements on companies listed in the EU.

Executives in Zurich have noted the success of the Singapore Stock Exchange in attracting Asian issuers that would traditionally have listed in Europe. Issuers of convertibles, in particular, will be unable to avoid increased obligations under the EU directives. Singapore has listed 20 convertibles already this year compared with just four in 2003.

Lobbying the lawyers

“We started looking at this project about a year ago when we realized the problems the prospectus and transparency directives would cause for some issuers,” says Jacqueline Morard, deputy head of admission at SWX.

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