Zagreb Stock Exchange becomes first regional self-listed stock exchange

Zagreb Stock Exchange becomes first regional self-listed stock exchange
By bne IntelliNews September 1, 2016

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) announced on August 31 that it had listed 4,635,700 of its own shares with a nominal value of HRK10. The move made the ZSE the first self-listed exchange in the region. 

ZSE's management has been working to boost activity on the exchange including by forging links with other exchanges in the region. The ZSE acquired 100% of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) from Austria's CEE Stock Exchange Group (CEESEG) in December. It now owns 100% of the LJSE. The ZSE is also part of SEE Link, the regional platform linking the Bulgarian, Croatian and Macedonian stock exchanges, which became fully operational in March.

"Zagreb Stock Exchange is the first regional self-listed stock exchange, setting new standards of transparency and acting as a corporate governance benchmark, and making a new step in further regionalization, allowing ZSE to efficiently raise new capital for further growth if necessary," said the president of ZSE's management board Ivana Gazic. 

"Looking ahead, we are aware that there is still a great deal of work to be done in developing Croatian as well as regional capital market, however, this is an exciting beginning of a new era and complements our ambition to become a financial institution that will encircle the development path of the companies from startup to regulated market listing."

The performance of Balkan frontier stock markets such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia was relatively poor in 2015 and early 2016, as foreign investors ignore the tiny exchanges with limited liquidity and mixed economic backdrops. 

Gazic said that a new government and progress with privatisation could help improve the situation in Croatia. "We hope that often announced governmental privatisation plans will take place in the near future along with the new political situation development and that the market will soon see new interesting investment projects."

ZSE announced on July 1 that it had started the process of developing regional capital market for small and medium enterprises.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will finance a study on the establishment of a regional capital market for SMEs, which would facilitate access to capital for SMEs, according to the ZSE. The EBRD is a shareholder of the ZSE and has the right to appoint one member of the ZSE’s supervisory board.

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