The merger between Sicovam, the central securities depository of France, and Brussels-based Euroclear Bank has been finalised – creating the world’s largest clearance and settlement system for domestically and internationally traded securities. As a result, Sicovam has been renamed Euroclear France, becoming an integral part of the Euroclear group.
The merger is a significant milestone in the evolution of Europe’s settlement infrastructure and according to Euroclear will provide the market with estimated savings of about e300m through the sharing of knowledge and technology.
Estimates put the combined turnover for the groups; or the value of securities settled, at e100trn for 2000. The value of securities held in custody surpasses e7trn.
Since September last year when the definitive merger agreement was signed the two entities have been in preparation for the integration. The result is that the Euroclear group can function immediately as a single entity with common management teams.
The merger was conducted through a share-for-share exchange whereby former shareholders of Sicovam will now hold 16.67% of the capital in Euroclear Clearance System, the Euroclear group holding company.
As part of the merger, Banque de France sold its shares in Sicovam to Sicovam Holding Company.
Sicovam Holding Company now takes four seats on the Euroclear Clearance System board. They have been filled by Jean-François Théodore, Euronext Paris; Thierry Coste, Caisse Nationale du Crédit Agricole; Jacques-Philippe Marson, BNP Paribas and Jean Malochet, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.
Yannick Chagnon, Société Générale, retains his seat on the Euroclear Clearance System board.
Euroclear Bank with a capital base of e1bn has received AA+ long-term credit ratings from ratings firms Standard & Poors and Fitch.
In a related move, the changeover from the New York-based Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York to Euroclear Bank as operator and banker for the Euroclear System took place on December 31, 2000.