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Capital Markets

Stock exchanges: Wiener Börse ponders Zagreb

Acquisitive stock exchange operator Wiener Börse is considering a possible bid for a stake in Croatia’s Zagreb Stock Exchange, a move that would further boost its claim to be the leading bourse for investors looking for exposure to central and eastern Europe. Wiener Börse official Beatrix Exinger told Euromoney that there had not been any formal discussions about a takeover offer but added: "Generally we are interested in making strategic investments in exchanges throughout the entire CEE region and that would naturally include the Zagreb Stock Exchange as well, but there have been no detailed talks as yet."

In the past 12 months the Viennese group has strengthened its hand in emerging Europe substantially, securing controlling stakes in the bourses in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. In common with its counterparts in the rest of central and eastern Europe, the Zagreb Stock Exchange attracted growing investor demand from both home and abroad in the pre-credit crunch period, especially for landmark initial public offerings by such companies as oil and gas group Ina and telecoms operator HT. But it suffered a sharp sell-off last year, with market capitalization slumping from the equivalent of €53 billion at the end of 2007 to €19 billion at the end of 2008.

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