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7 Apr, 2008 02:13

Foreign firms urged to join Russia’s stock market

Companies from Russia raised around $US 30 BLN in share listings last year. That's more than any other country in Europe. And it wasn't all done abroad – a lot of that value was generated locally on Moscow's RTS and MICEX exchanges.

Market experts say the next stage in the maturing of the Russian markets, is for foreign companies to start listing here.

Regulations are being drawn up to allow non-Russian firms to list on the RTS and MICEX directly. The aim is to get these finalised by the end of the year.

The first companies that would take this opportunity are foreign companies with Russian assets. They could expect demand from Russian investors who haven't been able to buy London-listed GDRs (global depository receipts).

Market watchers don't expect this to lead to a huge boost in the volume of trading on the Russian bourses immediately, but believe in the longer-term they could go on to compete with Europe's largest exchanges.

Meanwhile, another step in Russia's development into an international trading hub is the merger of the RTS and MICEX into one unified trading platform. The exchanges haven't ruled out that possibility.