Singapore lobbies for deal – SMH

Posted on March 7, 2011 by

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THE head of Singapore’s stock exchange says Australian companies will be helped and enjoy better growth if it acquires ASX.

Singapore Exchange will step up its campaign for an $8.4 billion takeover of Australia’s stock exchange this month, when it applies to the Foreign Investment Review Board and Treasurer for approval.

The FIRB can consider the proposed deal for up to 120 days and it must also be approved by Federal Parliament, with the crossbenches having so far opposed it.

”For many of the listed companies – Australian listed companies – they will grow,” SGX chief executive Magnus Bocker told ABC television yesterday. ”They grow out of Australia and will become more and more multinational and global companies. They, over time, need to find money for their growth, either in Australia or outside.”

The plan has been greeted with hostility by many Canberra politicians, who view it as a foreign takeover.

SGX was pressured into trying to assuage those fears and is now promising equal Australian board representation and more investment in Australian operations.

Mr Bocker said he had been meeting Australian shareholders and companies and assuring them the deal would help Australia become a regional financial hub.

Mr Bocker said Australia’s mining sector and Singapore’s financial sector would be mutually benefited in a merged securities exchange.

ASX closed up 87¢ at $36.75 on Friday.

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Posted in: APAC