The stock market reported 3.5 million lei gross profit for third quarter and 4 million lei for first quarter. BSE’s full-year forecasts indicated 7.9 million lei profit, 35% below year-ago level.

“The profit was largely driven by the cost-cutting measures we’ve put in place year-to-date. In the first nine months, we have managed to save little over 2 million lei, and a large element of the cost saving came from payroll costs reductions. These results will lift our fourth-quarter earnings”, said Stere Farmache, chairman of Bucharest Stock Exchange.

However, BSE’s nine-month profit is below year-ago levels, when the daily cash equity trading averaged €10 million, versus current €5 million.

“We haven’t drawn up our 2010 budget, due to the economic uncertainties. Furthermore, elections for the new board are scheduled for the beginning of the year, and it would be normal for the new board to set up the new budget”, said Farmache.

He said it was too early to announce his candidateship. “For the moment I want to successfully complete my mandate and end a new profitable year for BSE”.

Later this week, shareholders of the Bucharest Stock Exchange will talk the conversion of preferred stocks into ordinary shares, a measure in line with BSE’s plan to list its shares on its own trading platform. According to latest data, preferred shareholders hold 13.14% of BSE’s equity.

“The General Meeting of Shareholders will represent a turning point in the development of Bucharest Stock Exchange as shareholders will have the option to trade BSE shares”, the head of the stock market said.

As for the potential merger with the Sibiu stock market, Farmache said “It is obvious that a merger with Sibiu stock market must not be ruled out from the equation. It would be inappropriate for BSE to look at a regional hub and ignore a local source.”