Polish trade venue the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) has confirmed it is to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) and list its shares on its own exchange during Q4 2010.
The offering, which will be carried out by the State Treasury of the Republic of Poland, WSE's current majority stakeholder, will make available to investors up to 63.82% of existing share capital – 26,786,530 ordinary bearer series B shares with a nominal value on PLN 1.00 each on the main market of the WSE.
There will be no primary issuance of shares by the WSE as part of the offering, which will nevertheless be made available to retail and institutional investors in Poland and selected foreign institutional investors. Investment banks Citi, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS have been chosen to oversee the IPO.
The WSE, Poland's only exchange, offers main market equity, exchange regulated market equity (NewConnect), bond (Catalyst) and derivatives trading platforms. During H1 2010, the WSE ranked second in total IPO value in Europe after the London Stock Exchange, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' IPO Watch Europe survey, with the Federation of European Securities Exchanges placing the exchange's market capitalisation at €124,660.81 million in August 2010.
“The IPO marks the latest step towards achieving our goal of becoming the capital market hub for central and eastern Europe and also one of the leading stock exchanges in Europe, as well as being at the heart of the future development of Poland's capital markets,” said Ludwik Sobolewski, president and CEO of the WSE.
The initiative to carry out an IPO follows earlier attempts to sell a majority stake in the WSE to several global exchanges groups, including NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX, Deutsche Borse and the London Stock Exchange last year, which resulted in no purchase.
“The IPO of Warsaw Stock Exchange is a transformational moment marking the next stage of Poland's privatisation programme and the economic development of the country,” commented Aleksander Grad, Polish minister of the State Treasury. “Poland is a vibrant and growing economy and the exchange is at the core of the development of our local capital market and is the key platform for Poland's broad privatisation platform.”
The Polish government has already sold stakes in insurance, energy, copper and coal mining companies this year, as it seeks to raise funds to counter budget deficits before the start of 2011.