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Supreme Court Upholds Suspension of Wiener Boerse's Voting Rights (adds)

Ljubljana, 02 February (STA) - The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Securities Market Agency (ATVP), which suspended the voting rights of the Wiener Boerse in the Ljubljana Stock Exchange operator until it publishes a takeover bid or decreases its share under the 25% takeover threshold.

The ATVP told the press on Tuesday that the the Vienna Stock Exchange operator could not challenge the decision. "The agency is satisfied with the Supreme Court's decision, since this is the first case in which the agency suspended the voting rights of an acquiring company that should have published a takeover bid, which was also confirmed by the Supreme Court."

The agency believes that this ruling will be the foundation for future practice on the financial market. It is pleased with the decision, because a lack of such court rulings hurts transparency on the market.

The ATVP suspended Wiener Boerse's voting rights in December 2008. It also called on it to publish a takeover bid for the remaining 19.99% stake of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange held by minority shareholders.

Group CEESEG, which became the owner of the 81.01% stake after the restructuring of the Wiener Boerse, said it would buy a 16.443% stake in the Ljubljana Stock Exchange operator on 8 February, increasing its stake to 97.453%. Irrespective of this, the group reserves the right to legal action against the ruling.

The Wiener Boerse filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, saying it did not violate the takeover legislation and in January the Supreme Court temporarily reinstated part of its voting rights.

In October, the one year deadline in which the Wiener Boerse would have to pay EUR 1,401 per share to the small shareholders, as it did in 2008 when taking over the Ljubljana Stock Exchange operator, expired.

This means that even if the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the ATVP, the Wiener Boerse could, in theory, offer only one euro per share to the small shareholders, daily Dnevnik reports today.

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