Warsaw Stock Exchange Wins Approval From Regulator to Sell Shares in IPO

Poland’s financial regulator approved the prospectus for an initial public offering by the Warsaw Stock Exchange, paving the way for the first trading debut by a central European bourse operator.

Poland plans to sell 64 percent of the country’s sole exchange this month as part of a plan to raise 25 billion zloty ($8.8 billion) to help finance the 2010 budget gap and curb borrowing, the financial-services regulator said in e-mail. The government this year sold stakes in the nation’s biggest insurance, energy, copper and phone companies.

The exchange will publish its IPO prospectus on its website early on Oct. 14, Anna Wisniewska, a spokeswoman for the Warsaw bourse said by phone.

The Polish bourse is the third-largest in emerging Europe after Russia and Turkey, with a market capitalization of $187 billion and more than 550 companies listed on its main market and NewConnect platform.

Poland has had the highest number of IPOs annually in the region since at least 2004, Bloomberg data show. Companies have raised $4.35 billion in 51 IPOs this year, with the largest offerings coming from energy utility Tauron Polska Energia SA and insurer Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen SA.

First in Region

The bourse, created two years after the 1989 fall of communism, will be the first publicly traded exchange operator in central Europe. It’s the second exchange IPO this year, following a June listing by CBOE Holdings Inc., the last major U.S. securities exchange owned by its members. CBOE raised $339 million selling 11.7 million shares at $29 each after offering them at $27 to $29.

Poland’s exchange posted net income of 91 million zloty in 2009. NYSE Euronext, the biggest operator of U.S. stock exchanges, currently trades at 11.8 times last year’s earnings, while Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. is valued at 10.9 times profit, according to Bloomberg data.

The Warsaw bourse’s regional peers in Prague and Budapest, in which Wiener Boerse AG owns stakes, aren’t publicly traded.

Warsaw’s benchmark WIG20 Index has increased 10 percent this year, compared with 9.9 percent for Hungary’s BUX Index and the Czech PX Index’s advance of 2 percent. The WIG20 Index added 0.4 percent to 2,636.64 at 2:05 p.m. today.

Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG will be the IPO’s global coordinators. Ipopema Securities SA, KBC Groep NV, Societe Generale SA, PKO Bank Polski SA, Bank Ochrony Srodowiska SA, Alior Bank SA, Banco Espirito Santo SA, IDM SA and Wood & Co. will also help manage the offering, according to the Treasury Ministry’s website.


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