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Poland: Taking pole in capital markets race

Successful issues in debt and equity markets; State sales key to covering budget deficit

Poland continues this year to take advantage of its position as the most successful central and eastern European economy to secure valuable funding in the equity and debt markets at home and abroad. However, Michal Dybula, an economist at BNP Paribas, cautions that despite the country’s recent capital markets success, elections to the presidency in 2010 and to parliament in 2011 could prompt a slowdown in privatization sales, leading to growing budget deficits that could lead to bond, currency and equity market weakness.

On November 6, power company PGE enjoyed a successful debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange when its stock rose 16%, lifting the market capitalization of Poland’s largest electricity provider to Z44.96 billion ($52.1 billion), making it the biggest company listed on the exchange. PGE had earlier launched Europe’s largest initial public offering this year, raising Z5.97 billion through the sale of a 15% stake that was more than seven times oversubscribed. The PGE deal was the latest in a series of successful IPOs from Poland this year, with the Warsaw bourse witnessing 22 new listings in the first nine months of the year, placing it second only to NYSE Euronext in Europe.

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