BSE-SOFIA IS MAKING A STEP FORWARD
The Bulgarian Stock Exchange-Sofia (BSE-Sofia) reported a considerable growth in its 2002 proceeds. This positive performance has been maintaining optimistic moods among the brokers who keep their fingures crosses for that trend to persist. The turnover of the stock exchange reached BGN416,389,000, marking a 159% from 2001. The volume of traded shares also increased considerably (340%). The number of deals, effected on the floor of the BSE-Sofia last year, was 22,910, up from 12,308 in 2001. According to the players on the capital market, the appearance of compensation instruments on the stock exchange had a psoitive effect on the trade. The volume of traded compensatsion instruments is impressive - their number was 174,509,672 and the turnover was almost BGN41MN. It is claimed that several investment underwriters and banks are heaping up larger volumes of non-cash instruments of payment in expectation of the privatisation of attractive companies. In end-2002 the stock index SOFIX marked a record high level of 186 points, and is presently firm at 210 points. The index, introduced on October 17, 2000, has never before reached such a level. According to players on the cpaital market, however, SOFIX has already began to stay behind the times and is no more the most accurate indicator about the processes on the BSE-Sofia. In their opinion, this year we'll witness still higher rates of the index. Thr turnover of block deals and other transactions maked an impressive 114% growth. But these deals are only formally included in the real trade on the exchnage. Brokers explain the results on the block segment of the BSE-Sofia by the transactions in shares of the Sheraton Hotel effected in the summer, and the transferrence of Neftochim and Petrol stocks. The data about deals under tender offers also show a considerable increase. The turnover of small shares purchased by majority owners in 2002 was almost BGN9MN, marking an impressive 1,827% incerase from 2001. This can be explained by last year's amendments to the Public Offering of Securities Act, under which anyone who acquires over 50% or 67% of a ceratin public company is obliged to make a tender offer to the small shareholders for purchasing their stocks. Moreover, the major shareholder may offer to buy out the small shares if he owns more than 90% of the capital and wants to delete the company from the public register.The significant growth of deals on the stock exchange in 2002 is due to the fact that the comparison is made with 2001 - the year when trade on the BSE-Sofia was the weakest. According to analysts, the 2002 turnover seems trifling if it is compared with compared with the performance of soem Central European stock exchanges.