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Bourse CEO Zsolt Horváth resigns

György Mohai, one of Horváth's deputies, will take over as interim CEO until the bourse's board selects a permanent replacement, Chairman Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy said at a press conference in Budapest today. Horváth started as general manager and was named CEO when the exchange was incorporated. He oversaw the sale of the bourse's majority stake to a group of banks led by HVB Group in 2004 and the acquisition of the Budapest Commodity Exchange. He declined to name his new employer. „There are professional reasons behind my decision,” Horváth said. „I will move on to a post that represents international advancement.” The company's 2006 profit target of about Ft 1.6 billion is „secure” and the company may exceed that, Horváth added. The bourse's most important tasks are completing the acquisition of Keler Zrt, the country's clearing house and depository and increasing the number of listed companies, Mohai said in an interview. „Our international reputation is primarily hinged on the total market capitalization,” Mohai said. „The easiest way to increase that is to attract new listings. We can't create big companies from nothing, but we will work to make the bourse an attractive way to raise money.”
More Hungarian companies are expected to list shares to raise money, as government funds dry up amid an austerity package designed to cut the Hungary's budget deficit, Mohai said. Opportunities to expand cooperation with other bourses in eastern Europe will also be explored, he said. The Budapest exchange will work jointly with Wiener Borse, part of its principal ownership group, he said. Acquisitions are unlikely right now as Warsaw, the only attractive bourse in the region, isn't available. The new CEO will also seek to convince the government, which will introduce a capital gains tax next year, to give tax breaks for long-term investment, he said. (Bloomberg, MTI)