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21 firms to be listed on new venture-driven market


By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's bourse operator said Tuesday it has selected 21 firms to be listed on the Korea New Exchange (KONEX) market, which is set to launch in July to assist the growth of small players.

Earlier this month, 10 brokerage houses, which were selected as authorized supervisors by the Korea Exchange (KRX) to evaluate and supervise firms to be listed on the envisioned market, handed in the list of 21 candidates.

"The KRX finalized the list based on the firms' growth potential as well as leadership of their management," said Choi Hong-shik, an official from the KRX. "We thoroughly selected the companies after visiting their headquarters."

The KONEX market aims to foster the growth of small- and mid-sized firms, and add to the KRX's business portfolio, which currently operates the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) and the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market.

"The new market will foster and assist listed firms to grow to be re-listed on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market and on the main bourse," Choi said. "It will act as a nursery of young companies."

Choi said the firms listed on the new market will be given more leeway in securing investments or winning contracts overseas on the back of the global reputation of the KRX.

"The envisioned market also has been receiving the full-fledged support of the new government, as it comes in line with their policy," Choi added.

President Park Geun-hye, who took office in February, earlier vowed to boost small and medium enterprises in Asia's fourth-largest economy where family-controlled conglomerates dominate the market.

Firms qualified to be listed on the KONEX market must either have equity capital above 500 million won (US$447,668), annual sales beyond 1 billion won or a net profit of 300 million won.

The bourse operator plans to attract 50 firms with a combined market capitalization of 1.5 trillion won on the new bourse by the end of this year.

The KRX, however, added it will not announce the index of the new market for the time being, as it takes time to compile enough data to compute a reliable number that reflects the market.

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