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MNB said ready to purchase Budapest Stock Exchange

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Photo courtesy Budapest Stock Exchange

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) is in talks with CEESEG, majority owner of the Budapest Stock Exchange (BSE), to purchase ownership of the exchange, MNB Deputy Governor Ferenc Gerhard said, according to a report published today in Austrian newspaper Wirtschaftsblatt.

Gerhard reportedly said MNB wants to revitalize the trading venue and added that he expects the talks to come to fruition in the coming months. The Budapest Business Journal reported earlier that the MNB was keen to increase its share in the BSE, of which it currently owns 6.9%. Although the purchase price was not disclosed at the time, the Austrians paid €32 mln for the shares in 2004, according to Wirtschaftsblatt.

The current price may depend on many factors, including the future of the Hungarian clearing house KELER, but the MNB can afford to pay the asking price, the newspaper said, adding that the MNB earned €400 mln with the FX loan conversion alone, and it has been widening its investment portfolio with the purchase of several real estate properties in the country recently.

MNB’s move might come as a surprise for many though, analysts said, given that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government have not shown much interest in the past to develop a strong regulated market for equities.

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