March 1, 2017 / 4:15 PM / 5 months ago

Madrid bourse says more European exchange consolidation difficult

2 Min Read

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - More consolidation in European stock exchanges would be difficult, and the BME Madrid exchange was in no hurry to bulk up by chasing any deal, its general manager said on Wednesday.

Javier Hernani said the possible collapse of a planned tie up between the London and Frankfurt exchanges to create a megabourse showed that consolidation was already substantial.

The London Stock Exchange said on Sunday it was refusing to divest a bond trading platform for the merger to get approval from the European Union's competition regulator.

Hernani said the number of standalone exchanges in Europe has already been whittled down significantly in recent years, and it would therefore be difficult for any tie-ups to escape regulatory calls for divestments.

"In Europe further consolidation is possible, but it's clear that the landscape is already very consolidated. There are other ways to do business," Hernani told reporters during a visit to London.

Madrid has long been regarded as being on the periphery of Europe's exchanges landscape, and that acquiring it would not be a game changer to compete better with the world's sprinkling of big bourses.

"We are not in the need to do a deal to continue developing the business. If it makes sense, why not?" Hernani said.

He has not seen opportunities to do "something completely disruptive" to transform the exchange, adding that offering the best customer service was more important than fixating on size.

"It's not that we want to be standalone, and that we don't want to merge with this or buy that. We have always looked at different alternatives," Hernani said.

The biggest competitive threat was from smaller players such as Bats, a pan-European stock trading platform which has just been bought by U.S. exchange CBOE. Bats had acquired Chi-X Europe to become the largest pan-EU stock exchange.

Deutsche Boerse is seen as a potential merger partner for the Madrid bourse.

"We are not in a rush to do anything specific at this moment," Hernani said.

Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by David Evans

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