Bucharest Stock Exchange’s RASDAQ market to close down

Romania’s Parliament decided yesterday that the RASDAQ section of the Bucharest Stock Exchange will be dissolved.

The new law rules that companies which are still listed on the RASDAQ market will have to decide, via general shareholders’ meetings, if they want to move to the main market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange, to an alternative trading system (ATS) or fi they want to be delisted.

The 928 companies which are still listed on the RASDAQ market have a total market capitalization of EUR 1.7 billion and have generated average daily trades of some EUR 200,000 in the last three years. Among them there are still a few large companies, such as dairy producer Albalact, geological prospecting company Prospectiuni, Unirea Shopping Center and the companies that own two of the largest five star hotels in Bucharest, Bucuresti Turism (owner of Radisson Blu hotel), and Intercontinental.

The RASDAQ market was launched in 1996, with American expertise and funding. Most of the companies which the state privatized through its mass privatization program were listed in the beginning on this market, which in 1999 had more than 5,500 companies. Among these were the largest steel factories, cement factories and beer factories in Romania. Most of them were delisted.

Companies listed on RASDAQ don’t follow the same reporting standards as companies listed on the regulated market, but still have some transparency requirements to fulfill and in case they want to be delisted they must follow some procedures and have the obligation to buy out minority shareholders.

There has been a lot of debate in recent years on the status of the RASDAQ market, and whether this was a regulated market or not. The Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) never gave a straight answer on this, so a group of senators and deputies decided to solve the problem via a new law. Three law projects were drafted and one of them was approved on Tuesday, September 30.

Andrei Chirileasa, [email protected]

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