20/06/2009 00:00 AST

Qatar’s Doha Exchange, the Middle East’s fifth-largest equity market, named a 20-year NYSE Euronext veteran its chief executive officer as the nation vies with Dubai and Bahrain to build a regional financial center.

Andre Went, a managing director of market data for NYSE Euronext, will assume the post July 21, the state of Qatar said in a statement. Qatar today completed the sale of a 20 percent stake in the Doha Exchange to NYSE Euronext for $200 million.

The agreement will also allow the 12-year-old Doha Exchange to replace its trading systems with NYSE Euronext technology, which last year handled about $38.05 trillion worth of equity transactions at the New York Stock Exchange and six other bourses. The partnership may help draw investors to the market and spur Qatar to sell further stakes in the Doha Exchange.

“We first want to make it successful,” Finance Minister Youssef Kamal said at a press conference in the capital Doha today. Any sale won’t happen “immediately” and will come from the 80 percent controlled by Qatar Holdings LLC, he said.

The bourse, which changed its name today from the Doha Securities Market, lists 42 companies including Industries Qatar and Qatar National Bank SAQ with a total market value of $68 billion, compared with $106 billion for the United Arab Emirates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Went, who is based in Amsterdam, previously served as director of strategy and market development. NYSE Euronext will also get three seats on the board of the Doha Exchange.

$1.34 Billion Loss

Qatar Holdings, an arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will get six seats. Two board seats will go to independent directors. Qatar’s acting Minister for Business and Trade, Khalid Al Attiyah, will be chairman of the exchange, while Ahmad Al-Sayed, managing director and CEO of Qatar Holdings, will be vice chairman.

In February, NYSE Euronext reduced how much it would invest in the Doha Exchange by $50 million after reporting a record $1.34 billion quarterly loss. Last June, the New York-based company announced plans to pay $250 million for a 25 percent stake.

NYSE Euronext has spent $265 million since 2007 buying stakes in two exchanges in India and Brazil’s BM&F Bovespa SA. The company is also helping the Tokyo Stock Exchange develop a new trading network.

“It is a hub in a region where we weren’t present before,” Jean-Francois Theodore, deputy chief executive officer of NYSE Euronext, said in an interview today. “It’s clearly in our vision to be multi-asset and multi-country. Now we have work to do.”


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