Cyprus' Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Wednesday the government is considering tax incentives to encourage companies to enter the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), adding that the CSE’s strategic planning provides for privatising the Cypriot stock market by the end of 2022.
Petrides met today with a delegation of the CSE headed by its Board Chairman, Marinos Christodoulides who said that a consultive firm will be selected in two weeks as the advisor for the privatisation process, adding that the CSE will launch a new market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“We are in close contact and in close collaboration and we have discussed the CSE’s strategic development plan which includes a privatisation effort and a strategic investor by the end of 2022,” Petrides said in statements to the press after the meeting.
Finding a strategic investor, he added will “be decisive in developing the stock market as an alternative and an additional form of finance for the economy and businesses alike,” Petrides added.
Responding to questions both the Minister and the CSE Chairman called on companies to consider joining the stock market, as an alternative source of financing on the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, noting at the same time that there today’s CSE in terms of regulation and supervision cannot be compared with the 1999 stock market crash.
“The tool is there, liquidity is there we are working with the CSE Board so that the stock market could be used by businesses as an alternative source of financing and we are working towards that direction both through incentives and the finding of a strategic investor,” Petrides said.
Replying to a question, Petrides said the Ministry will examine tax incentives to companies who opt to join the CSE, without further elaborating. He also welcomed the CSE’s intention to launch a new market for SME’s.
On his part, Christodoulides stressed that there is no lack of liquidity in the market “but rather a lack of listed companies for interested investors to invest in.”
“This is why we’ve requested from the Minister to consider providing some incentives to companies, sound companies, to join the stock exchange so that the Cypriot market could operate correctly,” he added.
On the new market for SMEs, Chrisodoulides said that regulatory requirements will be less demanding compared with the other CSE’s regulated markets “so that SMEs could join the CSE grow and then enter larger and more demanding markets.”
He noted that the CSE’s request to establish an SMEs market is currently under examination by the regulator, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
The CSE has been underperforming since the 2013 financial crisis, daily trading volumes have been also negatively affected by the Covid pandemic, while many listed companies have exited the main market due to increased regulatory requirements.