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Business

Deutsche Börse Mulls Name Change

The German stock-market operator unveiled plans to give itself a more international branding.It was also upbeat on its chances of meeting its goal of 20% full-year earnings growth.

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German stock-market operator Deutsche Börse AG is considering changing its name. "We are neither German nor a bourse," Deutsche Börse chief Werner G. Seifert told an analysts conference.

It has not yet been decided when a new name will be created, he added. Deutsche Börse, which among other activities operates the electronic trading system Xetra and the Frankfurt stock exchange, no longer considers itself a purely nationally active provider of securities trading services.

Many of the banks and brokers trading via Xetra or on the futures exchange Eurex are non-German. But in a stock-market culture in which national sensitivities still play a strong part, a name change would be unusual.

Most bourses' names still refer to the name of the home country or home city. One of the few exceptions is Euronext, the merged bourse of the Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels exchanges. Seifert also said he was confident that Deutsche Börse will succeed in fully acquiring securities settlement firm Clearstream.

He confirmed that a bid had been submitted for the 50% stake it does not yet own in Clearstream, but declined to comment on its size. Euroclear, Europe's second-largest security settlement house, has also made a bid for Clearstream.

But Seifert sees Deutsche Börse in a strong position towards this rival bid. He said if Euroclear made an extremely high bid, Deutsche Börse might resort to selling its existing stake. Industry experts expect a decision on the sale by the start of December at the latest.

Commenting on Deutsche Börse's current earnings situation, Seifert said that it continues to strive for a 20% increase in earnings before interest and taxes (ebit) this year.

In the first nine months of the year, ebit came in at 225.3 million euros, up 24% on the same period in 2000. Analysts' forecasts of an ebit of around 294–300 million euros in 2002 were likely to prove accurate, chief financial officer Mathias Hlubek said.

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