Stock exchanges: Zagreb puts its best foot forward
LET’S BE HONEST, Croatians are not exactly renowned for hiding their light under a bushel. Walk into virtually any bar in downtown Zagreb and you’re likely to see a copy of the poster produced by local newspaper Jutarnji List commemorating the Croatian football team’s famous 2-0 victory over England in the 2008 European Championships qualifier in October.
Fund management: AC-Nalozbe blazes a trail It’s not only on the sporting field that Croatia has something to crow about. According to a recent Bloomberg survey, after years of intense rivalry with Slovenia, the Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) has finally established itself as the leading ex-Yugoslavia bourse, accounting for 37.4% of total regional equity turnover and 41.4% of total regional market capitalization. It’s a position that was strengthened at the end of the year by the successful initial public offering of Industrija Nafte (INA), Croatia’s national oil company (see INA flotation captures investors’ imagination, Euromoney, January 2007).
Over the first 11 months of the year the ZSE’s Crobex index soared from 1997 to 3266, making it the best-performing of the region’s major bourses. The flow of good news is set to continue in 2007, with the long-hoped-for unification of the ZSE with its smaller regional rival in Varazdin and the prospect of the eagerly anticipated IPO of Hrvatske Telekomunikacije, which will provide another liquid, blue-chip stock to attract both domestic and foreign investors.