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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
LSE 'ready to float'
London Stock Exchange
A flotation could help raise the profile of the exchange
The London Stock Exchange will this week announce a flotation this summer, according to Sunday press reports.

Although a listing of the 200 year old exchange has been on the agenda for some time, a summer flotation is earlier than expected.

The LSE has had a turbulent two years, successfully fighting off a bid from Sweden's OM Gruppen but failing in its merger efforts with Germany's Deutsche Boerse

The cash raised from a listing would help the exchange finance future acquisitions in an ongoing environment of cut-throat takeover battles.

Raising the profile

The exchange is expected to announce its flotation date when it reveals strong results on Thursday, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Clara Furse
Clara Furse: a new image for the exchange
Profits are thought to have risen to as much as £70m, a 43% increase over the previous year.

The exchange is being valued at £1.25bn.

As well as boosting the cash pile, a listing would help raise the exchange's profile, and could attract large fund management firms to buy shares in the organisation.

The exchange has been undergoing a time of change and an image overhaul since its first woman boss, Clara Furse, was appointed in January.

Rival floats

Falling stocks, fears of a slowing economy and the end of the dotcom boom has meant that few firms have gone ahead with public listings this year.

But the LSE may be eyeing the success of Deutsche Boerse which floated in February and saw its shares surge 11% on debut.

And its US rival Nasdaq announced at the end of April that it is to push ahead with a flotation next year.

A public listing of the LSE would keep it on an even footing with these rivals, and help seal its position among the leading equity markets of the world.

The LSE would not, however, confirm its plans.

"We are not going to be drawn on speculation...we have said flotation is on our agenda but matters of timing are for the board to decide," said a spokesman from LSE.

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See also:

05 Feb 01 | Business
Deutsche Börse surges on debut
24 Jan 01 | Business
New boss for London Stock Exchange
24 Jan 01 | Business
Clara Furse: A profile
15 Dec 00 | Review
Stock exchanges merge
02 Apr 01 | Business
LSE mulls City desertion
26 Apr 01 | Business
Nasdaq unveils flotation plans
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