Italy eyes lower cost listing to woo smaller firms

MILAN Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:46am EST

A man walks past the stock exchange in downtown Milan September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Paolo Bona

A man walks past the stock exchange in downtown Milan September 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Paolo Bona

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy is working on a plan that would drastically reduce the cost of a market listing for small and medium-sized firms, said the head of its stock market watchdog in a newspaper interview on Monday.

"The project should be ready quite soon, possibly within a few months," said Consob Chairman Giuseppe Vegas to Corriere della Sera.

Italy's stock market, part of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L), has 324 listed companies and is small in relation to the size of Italy's economy, which is made up mainly of unlisted, small family-held firms.

Vegas said the plan aims to reduce listing costs by "getting specialized investment funds involved in the process with managerial and financial support," as well as offering looser regulatory requirements for a three-year grace period.

Vegas reiterated his view that Italy's planned tax on financial transactions will raise the cost of hedging.

He also said that the so-called Tobin tax, which should be operative by January 1 if approved by parliament, could result in many trading jobs being shifted overseas.

(Reporting By Jennifer Clark; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Hans-Juergen Peters)

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