The shares of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange surged on their first day of trading on Thursday after the nation’s only exchange sold a 31.7 percent stake of its shares to institutional investors and the public earlier this week.
The stock advanced 28% to NIS 9.1 at 11:37 a.m. in Tel Aviv from an opening price of NIS 7.1.
The initial public offering of shares, which valued the exchange at NIS 710 million ($202 million), was part of a push of the exchange to restructure, transitioning into a for-profit organization in a bid to draw additional investors and become more competitive and efficient so it can be a more dominant player globally and more accessible to the public.
“The Tel Aviv Exchange today joins leading companies in Israel and many of the world’s stock exchanges that operate as public companies, transparently, responsibly and with the public’s participation in their performance,” said TASE CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev in a statement. “We hope this paves the way for other Israeli companies” seeking to issue shares on the TASE with offerings that will also include large international investment bodies alongside local investors.”
Investors have shown “faith” in the stock exchange, and their participation in buying the shares “reflects their desire to be a partner in the success of the Israeli economy and the great potential of the stock exchange in the future,” Ben-Zeev said.
There was high demand by institutional investors in the share sale, the TASE said, mainly foreigners from the US, Europe, the Far East and local institutional investors, alongside active participation of the public.
As part of this restructuring, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange last year sold a 20% stake of its shares to New-York based fund Manikay Partners LLC. It sold another 19% to four additional foreign investors. The deals valued the TASE then at NIS 551 million.
There are 447 companies that have shares listed on the exchange, at a market value of $215 billion, according to TASE data.