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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 2, 2010
Business & Economy
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Tauron Shares Up for Grabs
July 2, 2010   
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More than 230,000 individual investors signed up to buy shares in energy company Tauron Polska Energia, which the government offered to the public at the end of June. The initial public offering (IPO) covered 52 percent of Tauron’s total number of shares and was expected to generate a whopping zl.4.2 billion in privatization revenue for the government.

The IPO marked another big-ticket privatization deal this year after that involving the country’s largest insurer, PZU, which hit the Warsaw Stock Exchange in May. PZU’s IPO was worth a record zl.8 billion, making it the largest public offering on the Polish capital market ever. Almost 250,000 retail investors acquired shares in PZU.

Interest in Tauron was only slightly smaller, with more than 230,000 retail investors having subscribed for the stock, which was priced at zl.5.13 per share for both retail and institutional investors. More than 205 million shares, or 25 percent of the total number, were set aside for retail investors and over 615 million for institutional investors, both Polish and foreign—with around two-thirds of the stock destined for Polish investors, mostly pension funds, and one-third for foreign investors from countries including Britain and the United States.

Tauron also attracted the interest of investors from Central and Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to officials, this shows that Warsaw has strengthened its position as the largest financial center in this part of Europe.

“The strong interest in Tauron’s privatization among both individual and institutional investors testifies to their confidence in the fundamentals of the Polish economy,” said Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad.

Tauron is the last large IPO this year, alongside the planned privatization of the Warsaw Stock Exchange company, which is scheduled for the end of the year and promises to be another attention grabber. The government wants to sell more than 63 percent of the company’s stock by the end of the year. That IPO will be smaller than those of PZU and Tauron, but it will be no less important to the development of Poland’s capital market, officials say.

In addition to the WSE company, several large enterprises in the energy, chemical and transportation sectors will also be privatized this year, according to the Treasury Ministry.

It is unclear if the government will manage to achieve its ambitious privatization revenue target for this year, set at zl.25 billion. But officials are convinced that this year’s revenue will be higher than last year, when the government earned less than zl.7 billion, up from zl.2.4 billion in 2008 and zl.1.9 billion in 2007.
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