The famed – and notorious – Icelandic trading house Kauphöll may be on the verge of a renaissance, as companies are beginning to show a renewed interest in being listed on its exchange.
At one time, Kauphöll was the hub of trading in shares in Icelandic companies. However, with the collapse of the financial sector in the fall of 2008, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority temporarily closed trading on a number of companies indexed there, such as Glitnir, Straumur and Exista. By the time trading in shares of these companies was re-opened less than two weeks later, the index had fallen by 76%.
While Kauphöll has struggled to rebuild its reputation ever since, it seems there may be signs of life.
The company Hagar – which owns, among other companies, Hakaup, Debenhams, and Shell in Iceland – wants to go public on Kauphöll’s index again, as have the investment company Horn, the real estate company Reginn, and the insurance company TM, among others.
Páll Harðarson, the director of Kauphöll, told RÚV, “We also know of other companies who are seriously looking into [going public on our index], but haven’t made it public knowledge yet.” He added that he believes a resurgence of Icelandic companies trading their shares on an Icelandic index will help breathe life into the economy again.
“One of the things that has followed the economy from the bank collapse is that the flow of investment capital to the labour market has been in some or even most ways blocked,” he said. “So this is a very welcome development.”