Lump of coal in Euronext stocking

As stock exchanges increasingly move towards 24-7 trading, Euronext - the planned merger of the Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam exchanges - is moving in the opposite direction, proposing a twice-a-day auction system for listed stocks with less than 20,000 trading transactions per year that do not have a liquidity provider (market maker). The move would thus focus Euronext on larger, more liquid stocks.

Euronext was taking comments on the proposal through Dec. 10, although based on conversations Ebb & Flow had with biotech companies that could be affected, it appears that few had even heard about the proposal.

Frank Oosthoek of AOT, the organization of Dutch specialist brokers, which could lose business in Amsterdam if the change comes into effect, said nearly all biotech stocks traded on Euronext would fall below the 20,000-trade threshold. Pharming (ASX:PHR; EASD:PHAR), he noted, records about 8,700 trades a year.

To avoid discontinuous trading, Amsterdam-listed companies would have to provide either a liquidity provider or be listed elsewhere such as the LSE, the Neuer Markt or EASDAQ. The latter recently allowed secondary listings of companies that follow a European rulebook and are listed elsewhere. Among the Amsterdam stocks that would be affected are antibody company Crucell (ASX:CRUCE), tissue engineering play Isotis (ASX:ISTIS), and diagnostics company Fornix (ASX:FRNX).

The same ruling would apply to Nouveau Marche-listed biotech companies, in particular bioreactor company Quantum Appligene, drug discovery company

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