Deutsche Boerse chief executive Carsten Kengeter this morning attempted to win more German support for the company’s merger with the London Stock Exchange, playing down the UK headquarters and promising new jobs for Frankfurt.
Speaking at a full-year results conference, Kengeter downplayed the significance the London legal base of the combined exchange, saying: “There are to be two headquarters.”
He was referring to the fact the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse will retain their individual homes in the UK and Frankfurt operating beneath the combined legal HQ.
He also revealed that the company would be aiming to create 400 new jobs this year, including 300 in Frankfurt.
In addition to the jobs we have already created in 2016, we are planning – as part of our growth strategy – to increase our number of employees by another 400 during the course of the year. More than 300 of them will be working in Frankfurt.
He was speaking to the German media at a critical time for the £21bn merger. Kengeter said the companies are “optimistic” of gaining European Commission approval for the deal, after the London Stock Exchange offered to sell its French clearing arm, LCH SA, but convincing the state of Hesse to approve the deal could prove more challenging.
Kengeter said the exchanges were “listening carefully” to regulators in the state of Hesse. Sources close to the deal have told City A.M. the exchanges may need to offer more to Hesse in order to win approval.
Kengeter also talked up how the merger can help Frankfurt “flourish” in an increasingly competitive exchange world, with Europe losing out to growth in Asia and the United States.
“The biggest risk to Frankfurt… is doing nothing,” he said.
Kenegeter also faced multiple questions this morning on an insider trading investigation launched against him by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor's Office at the beginning of this month.
He asked the media to “bear with me” and said the investigation “affected me personally very much”.