Warsaw Bourse Switches to NYSE Platform as Volumes Surge

The Warsaw Stock Exchange switched to NYSE Euronext’s new trading system to speed up transactions after stock turnover on central Europe’s fastest-growing equity market soared almost four-fold over the past decade.

The operator entered a strategic partnership with NYSE Euronext in 2010 and bought its Universal Trading Platform, which enables high-frequency transactions. The number of companies listed on Warsaw’s main market has doubled, while the average daily turnover soared to about 750 million zloty ($238 million) since the previous Warset system was started in 2000, according to data on the exchange’s website.

“The system worked without any disruptions from the beginning to the end of the session today,” Blazej Karwowski, a spokesman for the bourse, said after the session closed.

The bourse, founded two years after Poland’s communist government collapsed in 1989, currently lists 438 companies on its main market, including PKO Bank Polski SA, the largest Polish bank, and PZU SA, the country’s biggest insurer, with a combined value of 710 billion zloty. In 2007 the state-controlled operator started the NewConnect market for smaller companies and two years later bought MTS-CeTo, a platform for bond trading, from Italy’s MTS SpA and local banks.

Shares Slide

The benchmark WIG20 Index fell 2 percent to 2,350.08 at the close in Warsaw, extending this year’s decline to 9 percent. Warsaw Exchange shares slid 1 percent to 38.86 zloty, retreating for the first time in five days.

Together with the start of the new system the exchange cut equity trading hours by 30 minutes to end at 5:05 p.m. local time as of today. The bourse won’t hold a trading session tomorrow to “minimize risks related to transactions settlement,” after the new system was started, Chief Executive Officer Adam Maciejewski said in a statement on April 9.

The exchange is in preliminary talks on a merger with the Vienna bourse that would create a hub for equities trading and initial share offerings. The operators, which have fought for dominance in the region, will decide in the next few months on whether to start advanced negotiations, Leszek Pawlowicz, chairman of the Warsaw exchange’s board, said last week.

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