Hungary’s central bank reportedly buys control of Budapest bourse

By bne IntelliNews November 23, 2015

Hungary’s central bank has bought a majority stake in the Budapest Stock Exchagne (BSE) in a HUF13.2bn (€42.5mn) deal, local media claimed on November 20.

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) paid HUF3,550 per share, raising its stake to 75% from the 6.9% it held previously, unnamed sources told MTI. Both the MNB and the supposed sellers declined to comment. Austria's CEE Stock Exchange Group controls a 50.5% stake in BSE and Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG holds 18.35%.

Last month, MNB Deputy Governor Laszlo Windisch said the central bank wanted to take control of BSE and list shares of state-owned companies on the bourse. Returning to state hands could be good news for the BSE, which has endured a tough few years. It's few new listings have proved far from successful, while it has seen a series of companies quit the exchange.

Activity has been steadily eroding. The average daily equity turnover on the bourse shrank 17.9% in 2014, to leave it at just HUF7.8bn. It is the lowest figure in the past nine years. Until now, the poor relationship between the government and the bourse virtually ruled out the floatation of state-owned companies, analysts argue.

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