The operator of the Vienna Stock Exchange has joined the ranks of potential suitors for Ljubljanska borza, which manages the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE), but a meeting of executives on Monday was merely introductory and no concrete offer was made.

There was no talk about a potential offer. Wiener Boerse only confirmed that it was interested in the acquisition, Gregor Senkovic said, who heads the task force for the potential sale of Ljubljanska Borza. "We confirmed that there is interest from their side and that we will meet when matters are clearer," he said. The next meeting is scheduled for March.

Ljubljanska borza is in high demand, as interest has been expressed by Swedens OMX group and the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), as well as Euronext and the operators of exchanges in Frankfurt, Milan and Athens.

OMX was the only one to make an actual offer, but its EUR 4.2 million bid was rejected by the shareholders as too low. WSE said last week it would top that offer, but no concrete figures were revealed.

All the bidders operate exchanges that are many times bigger than the LJSE, which lists 201 companies and had a market capitalisation of EUR 19 billion at the end of last year. The WSEs market capitalisation amounted to EUR 120 billion at the end of 2006, while that of the Vienna Stock Exchange exceeded EUR 146 billion. (Finance)