AIX-EN-PROVENCE (Reuters) - Euronext's <ENX.PA> chief executive Stephane Boujnah sees a growing momentum for new stock listings in the second half of the year, following the French and Dutch elections, he said on Sunday.
Euronext saw 15 companies making their debut on its four stock exchanges over the first half of the year, raising 2.7 billion euros ($3.1 billion). That was the same number as the first half of 2016, with 3.2 billion euros raised.
"There are many operations (listings) that have been postponed," the CEO said, citing the French and Dutch elections as the reason.
"I am extremely confident over the second-half," Boujnah said in an interview at a business conference in the French southeastern city of Aix-en-Provence.
The group, which owns stock exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels, has trimmed its costs since its own share listing in 2014 and wants to use its firepower to better compete with bigger rivals London Stock Exchange Group <LSE.L> and Deutsche Boerse <DB1Gn.DE>.
"Our ambition is to deploy the balance sheet we have... to make significant acquisitions that would allow to diversify our revenue base," Boujnah said, adding Euronext had the financial leeway to spend between 1 billion to 1.5 billion euros on acquisitions.
Earlier this year, Euronext had agreed to buy Paris-based clearing house LCH SA for 510 million euros ($538 million), pending a Deutsche-Boerse-LSE tie-up agreement. The merger between the two stock exchanges fell through and so did the LCH SA acquisition as a result.
Euronext has made minor acquisitions this year.
It bought FastMatch, an electronic communication network in the spot foreign exchange for $153 million, invested $10 million in the stake of fixed income technology provider, Algomi, and 3.6 million euros ($4.10 million) in Webcast, a Dutch company specialized in professional webcast and webinar services.
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(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, Gwenaelle Barzic, Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)