OMX, the Nordic-Baltic bourse operator, will launch a Nordic small-cap stock market by mid-2006 in a move that it hopes will replicate the success of Aim, London’s junior market – and compete with the London exchange as it seeks to expand across Europe.

An alternative Nordic marketplace would offer small companies, valued up to Skr500m, a venue for raising capital while giving investors access to small unlisted companies via the same system used for trading shares on the OMX exchanges.

Jukka Ruuska, president of OMX Exchanges, said the Nordic small-cap marketplace would provide compete with Aim, which this week unveiled ambitions for pan-European growth.

“We aim to respond to the same needs as Aim, so they would be a competitor to us for Nordic growth companies,” Mr Ruuska said.

“We’re following Aim’s developments carefully, as one should always do with competitors, but we don’t foresee any dramatic effects of their expansion plans. The companies . . . have low visibility and will be attracting mostly home-market investors in the Nordic region.”

Mr Ruuska estimates that the Nordic marketplace would start off with tens of companies, making it a fraction of the size of Aim, which has enjoyed a record year so far, with 389 companies listing compared with the record 355 for the whole of last year.

As a first step to a Nordic alternative marketplace, the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, part of OMX, proposes to start an alternative marketplace for companies valued between DKr400m-500m. That will go live in December once regulators have passed it.

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