Tel Aviv Stock Exchange launches initial public offering

JERUSALEM, July 15 (Reuters) - The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) has launched an initial public offering of up to 30% of its shares that values the exchange at 700 million shekels ($198 million).

No date has been set but in a draft prospectus, the TASE plans to sell 31.7 million shares at 7 shekels per share.

The amount of shares will be closer to 32 percent since the amount of holdings of the TASE’s owners will be reduced after the IPO, which will be led by global financial services firm Jefferies.

Last year, the bourse sold nearly a 20 percent stake to investment fund Manikay Partners and another 19 percent to four other foreign investors. That sale valued the exchange at 551 million shekels.

The exchange has been trying to boost declining trading volumes. It demutualised in 2017 to become a for-profit bourse.

It earned 5.4 million shekels in the first quarter, down from 8.1 million a year earlier, citing lower revenue and higher expenses. Revenue slipped 2 percent to 64.6 million shekels due to a decline in trading volumes.

The exchange will distribute 30-50 percent of its ongoing profits starting in 2020 as a dividend.

$1 = 3.5391 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch