Process launched extremely dynamically

First bell rings on Belarusian Stock and Currency Exchange

By Sergey Artemiev

The ceremonial ringing of the bell indicated the beginning of public bidding on shares in Minsk’s Plant of Sparkling Wines JSC, with Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister, Sergey Rumas, and the Director General of the enterprise, Leonid Kravchuk, given the honour. At present, 240,000 shares are for sale: 25 percent. Bidding is open to any resident of the country or resident-company.

Bidding opened at 10:30am, with an impressive 52 bids in the first 20 minutes — as seen on the interactive screen, which allowed journalists to observe procedures. One bid was from a resident investing almost Br145m in 845 shares; a second was from a company buying the IPO maximum number of shares: 999. Such sales show the genuine value of the company.
Some bids were placed in advance, via the signing of preliminary agreements; these covered just over 7,500 shares, worth in excess of Br1bn. Meanwhile, 67 broker companies offered their services, with addresses and telephone numbers placed on the website of the Belarusian Stock and Currency Exchange. The lowest fees are offered by Belarusbank and Belagroprombank.

Mr. Kravchuk is extremely pleased with such an active launch and promises that values will rise. He notes that, last year, shares were worth about Br1,600 each and are now expected to triple. He asserts that share prices are rising.

Funds attracted via IPO will be used to implement a second stage of reconstruction and expansion of production. Mr. Rumas adds, “This is our first pilot project. If we successfully sell our stock of shares, the Government will propose the same for several other enterprises. It’s vital that we allow individuals to buy shares, as they currently lack choices in investing or saving money. When you buy foreign currency, you’re supporting the issuing countries. Buying shares in an enterprise is a way of supporting the national economy, taking part in its management.”

Belgospishcheprom Concern has few enterprises to rival Minsk Plant of Sparkling Wines, which shows a good profit and occupies a real niche market (up to 90 percent of local sales — almost a monopoly). As of April 1st, one share was valued at around Br200,000. According to Mr. Kravchuk, the enterprise’s assets have aroused huge interest among foreign investor engaged in the manufacture of grape wines. However, foreigners are unable to buy shares directly from the Belarusian IPO.

Rather, they must buy on the secondary market. Ivan Danchenko, the Chairman of Belgospishcheprom Concern, explains that, by the end of the year, distilleries in Grodno and Gomel should become joint stock companies. Those in Klimovichi and Vitebsk are set to join them next year, so we should soon see unprecedented action on the stock market.

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