Bulgaria Picks Czech Consultant for Bourse Sale
The building of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange in Sofia. Photo by Sophia Photo Agency
Bulgaria's sale agency has picked Czech company Patria Corporate Finance to act as consultant as the country is looking for an investor for its only stock exchange.
The company, which is part of the Belgian group KBC, was preferred to Deloitte Bulgaria and Bulbrokers Consulting.
For sale is the government's stakes of just above 50% in the Bulgarian bourse and in the Central Depository, which clears and settles trades and also acts as a register of securities.
The selected company will have to prepare marketing, legal and financial analysis of both companies, evaluate them and write information memoranda.
The consultant will have one month to perform its tasks, which means that in December the preparation of the transaction will be completed.
Bulgaria hopes to find an investor for its only stock exchange during the first quarter of 2013 after failing to do so by the end of this year as initially planned.
According to BSE Chief Executive Ivan Takev the bourse is worth about EUR 10 M, which means a sale of the stake would be worth around EUR 5 M.
However, the depository is not a listed firm, so its valuation and sale price would have to be calculated by the consultants in charge of selling the assets.
At the end of last year insiders told local media that the government's hopes to sell the majority stake in the bourse by the end of 2011 went sour over lack of bidders.
Shortly after the Bulgarian Stock Exchange launched the sale of its shares in January 2011, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov announced that there is a "huge" interest among investors.
CEE Stock Exchange Group however was the only one to openly declare its interest, but no detailed talks have been held so far.
Bulgaria's only stock exchange became a public company in the middle of December 2010 after the Financial Supervision Commission approved its prospectus and the bourse was listed on its own platform. The capital of the bourse is a total of BGN 6 582 860 at BGN 1 apiece.
Bulgaria's Finance Ministry raised at the beginning of October that year its share to 50% plus one share from 44% in the country's stock exchange. The government bought 715,000 shares at BN 1 apiece. The bourse will sell the remaining 50% held by private investors including brokerages and banks.
The shareholders said the move aims to ease the future privatisation of the exchange and the search for a strategic investor.
Since 2008, the stock exchange has traded on the Deutsche Boerse's Xetra platform under a contract that expires in 2012. Bulgaria has discussed ways to sell its bourse stake over the past decade with Sweden's OMX AG and exchanges in Austria, Greece and Poland to boost interest in local stocks and make trading more transparent.
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