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Capital Markets

Armenia: OMX buys Armenian bourse

Market participants are confident that Scandinavian exchange operator OMX’s acquisition of the Armenian Stock Exchange (Armex) will help to boost interest in the Caucasian republic’s burgeoning capital markets in 2008.

As of the start of January, OMX assumed control of 100% of the shares of Armex and the Central Depository of Armenia, following an initial agreement signed at the end of April.

Magnus Böcker, OMX’s chief executive, says: "The rapid economic growth in Armenia, as well as the good cooperation between OMX and the government and Central Bank of Armenia, give us confidence in the long-term growth potential of the Armenian market."

The Armenian authorities have warmly greeted OMX’s acquisition. "The government of Armenia considers capital market development a key success factor for the further growth of the economy, and we are truly committed to working with OMX to achieve our ambitious joint goals," says prime minister Serzh Sargsyan.

Tigran Sargsyan, governor of the Central Bank of Armenia, believes that the entry of OMX into the Armenian market will encourage the development of the domestic securities industry and will improve the opportunities for Armenian companies to raise capital from domestic and international investors.

Arsen Kyurinyan, analyst at local brokerage Tonton Investment Company in the Armenian capital Yerevan, says that the announcement of the takeover has already boosted interest in Armenian shares. "We have already seen increased demand for shares on the back of the news about OMX buying the exchange," he says, adding that it is probable that there will be more new issue activity on the equity front in 2008 as a result of the Armenian bourse’s increased profile.

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