The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has acquired a 5.2% stake in the Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) by injecting fresh capital in it, the ZSE reported on Monday.

In early December 2015, the ZSE was recapitalised in two rounds with HRK 14.9 million. The EBRD took part in the second recapitalisation round, by subscribing for 2,400 new shares at a price of HRK 2,500, the total investment amounting to HRK 6 million.

At the end of last year, the ZSE completed the takeover of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange by acquiring all of its stock from the CEE Stock Exchange Group (CEESEG).

"By supporting the merger of the Zagreb and Ljubljana stock markets, the EBRD will try to increase the value of both companies by working to improve corporate management standards and promote, together with other stake-holders, the regulatory framework and listing conditions," said the ZSE.

Investors and issuers are expected to benefit from the single access to those capital markets and from the expected increased liquidity, to be facilitated by the introduction of a new trading system, Xtra, the ZSE said.

"This is an important investment for Croatia and Slovenia and we are proud of our role in upgrading and harmonising the capital market infrastructure. We supported previously the Zagreb Stock Exchange by founding the Zagreb Stock Exchange Academy which has been attended to date by 4,000 people," EBRD Croatia director Vedrana Jelusic Kasic said.

As part of a project designed to help in the development of local currencies and local capital markets, the EBRD has launched several projects, the last being the creation of SEE Link connecting the Bulgarian, Croatian and Macedonian stock markets, as well as preparations for the creation of a regional Central Counterparty.

The EBRD has been active as an investor in Croatia since the country declared independence, and has invested around EUR 3.25 billion in more than 180 projects to date.

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