SGX among bidders for Israeli bourse stake

The Tel Aviv skyline. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said in January that it was in the process of finding a strategic investor, with shareholders putting a 71.7 per cent stake valued at around US$147 million (S$195 million) up for sale.
The Tel Aviv skyline. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said in January that it was in the process of finding a strategic investor, with shareholders putting a 71.7 per cent stake valued at around US$147 million (S$195 million) up for sale.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

More than 10 foreign exchanges interested in buying into Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: Report

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is a contender for a controlling stake in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), according to Israeli media.

More than 10 foreign stock exchanges have expressed interest in buying into the Israeli exchange by signing non-disclosure agreements, Reuters reported late on Tuesday, citing a source close to TASE. Israeli media said these included bourses in London, Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Warsaw.

TASE said in January that it was in the process of finding a strategic investor, with shareholders putting a 71.7 per cent stake valued at around US$147 million (S$195 million) up for sale.

Technology news site CTech said there is an April deadline for suggesting an interested buyer.

TASE has said it expects to draw interest from the world's leading stock exchanges, "which will significantly strengthen the Israeli stock exchange's competitive position globally and will lead to the creation of international collaborations and attract overseas investors".

The bourse operator said in January: "This measure fits in well with ...the global trend whereby major stock exchanges hold shares in a number of small and medium-sized stock exchanges, enabling them to benefit from greater exposure, cooperation and advantages of scale."

The search for a strategic investor comes as TASE has seen a slump in trading volumes and around 200 delistings over the past decade, Reuters said.

In September last year, it began a demutualisation process. The ownership restructuring will allow it to distribute its earnings and even issue shares in public offerings.

Member banks will retain a 22 per cent stake in TASE while its employees own a further 6 per cent, Reuters said.

An SGX spokesman said yesterday: "SGX does not comment on market rumours.

"We remain open to opportunities that align with our strategy and will keep the market informed if any material development arises."

Israeli firms listed on the SGX include Sarine Technologies, a diamond specialist technology firm, and tech incubator Trendlines.

SGX shares closed down one cent to $7.54 yesterday .

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'SGX among bidders for Israeli bourse stake'. Print Edition | Subscribe