Deutsche Boerse cultivates local ties after LSE deal setback

Traders work at their desks at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. (Reuters)
Updated 19 July 2017
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Deutsche Boerse cultivates local ties after LSE deal setback

FRANKFURT, Germany: Deutsche Boerse is planning to spruce up the Frankfurt stock exchange, a familiar backdrop for TV broadcasts on the German economy, as part of a push to try to attract more retail investors.
Deutsche Boerse is seeking to broaden its appeal and burnish its image following the collapse of a proposed merger with the London Stock Exchange.
It is still dealing with the fallout from that deal.
Public prosecutors on Tuesday asked Deutsche Boerse to pay fines of €10.5 million ($12.1 million) for failing to notify the public in a timely way about the LSE merger talks and for the design of its executive share-buying scheme. Deutsche Boerse said the allegations are “unfounded in all respects.”
Potential refurbishments under discussion by the German exchange operator are an enhanced viewing gallery for visitors and a modernized area to showcase new companies making their debut on the market via initial public offerings, three people with knowledge of the situation said.
The changes could bring a little of the New York Stock Exchange-style razzmatazz to Frankfurt, which is seeking to rival London as a financial center after Brexit.
The plans also foresee the creation of a venue for events in vacant parts of the building such as the one formerly used for bond trading.
The exchange’s 19th century building on Boersenplatz in downtown Frankfurt is often used by TV crews when reporting on German financial news even though actual trading at the exchange, which has roots dating back to 1585, is now mostly done electronically.
Deutsche Boerse rents the trading floor areas in the building, which is owned by the Frankfurt am Main Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The company hopes that investing in this landmark will help to spark greater interest among the German public in share trading, startups and IPOs, two of the people said.
Later this month, board members will debate details and costs of the investment, one of the people said.
Share ownership in Germany was at 14 percent of the population in 2016, according to data from financial industry body Deutsches Aktieninstitut. That compares with 52 percent in the US, according to a Gallup poll.
IPO issuance in Germany also lags other major economies. Despite buoyant stock markets, IPOs in Germany so far this year total $1.5 billion, compared with $21 billion in the US, $20 billion in China and $3.2 billion in Britain, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Iraq slams Exxon for evacuating staff amid Gulf tensions

Updated 19 May 2019
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Iraq slams Exxon for evacuating staff amid Gulf tensions

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Sunday slammed as “political” a decision by US energy giant ExxonMobil to evacuate staff from a southern oil field after Washington ordered personnel to quit its Baghdad embassy.
“The temporary withdrawal of employees has nothing to do with security in southern Iraqi oil fields or any threats,” Oil Minister Thamer Al-Ghadban said.
“The reasons are political and probably linked to tensions in the region,” he added in a statement released by the oil ministry.
Ghadban called the move to pull out staff from the West Qorna oil field west of the southern port city of Basra “unacceptable and unjustified.”
Exxon did not confirm the withdrawal.
“We are closely monitoring. As a matter of practice, we don’t share specifics related to operational staffing at our facilities,” a spokeswoman said.
“ExxonMobil has programs and measures in place to provide security to protect its people, operations and facilities. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our employees and contractors at all of our facilities around the world,” she added.
On Wednesday the United States ordered the evacuation of non-emergency staff from its Baghdad embassy and Irbil consulate, citing an “imminent” threat from Iranian-linked armed groups in Iraq.
It came 10 days after the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier task force and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to fend off an unspecified alleged plot by Tehran to attack US forces or allies.