Germany’s two electricity exchanges, Leipzig Power Exchange (LPX) and Frankfurt-based European Electricity Exchange (EEX) will merge officially on March 1, EEX said on Monday.

“The invitations to shareholders went out last Friday to meet on March 1 to vote on the merger,” EEX spokesman Frank Hartmann told the Reuters news agency.

“Their approval is expected and it will mean the merger between EEX AG and LPX GmbH to form a new exchange will be official on that day, with the merger being retroactive to Januray 1 2002,” he added.

LPX members approved the merger plan for the new exchange to be called EEX and based in Leipzig, on January 22.

The new firm will be split 57.5 percent/42.5 percent between the former EEX and LPX owners.

The supervisory boards of both exchanges gave their go-ahead for the merger last October in a bid to pool liquidity in Europe’s biggest power market. The approval by EEX shareholders will be the final stage in the process.

LPX shareholders include Scandinavian exchange Nord Pool and Landesbank Sachsen, with 35 percent each, and public owners.

EEX is backed by Eurex, the joint venture of the Deutsche Boerse and the Swiss exchange SWX, which holds 46.5 percent, while industry and financial owners hold 53.5 percent.

The proposed structure of the new firm has Eurex and EEX holding a total of 57.5 percent of the new exchange, Nord Pool and Landesbank Sachsen each owning 17.5 percent and Saxony state and the city of Leipzig having 7.5 percent.

EEX shareholders agreed in a first step to buy 15 percent in the exisiting LPX from the Saxony state and the city of Leipzig. In the new firm, that 15 percent translates into a 7.5 percent share that is up for resale, though no deadline for that has yet been set.

The chiefs of EEX and LPX, Hans Schweickhardt and Carlhans Uhle, are expected to share control of the new exchange, Hartmann added.

“They have to be appointed, but there is no reason to believe that Schweickhardt and Uhle will not become the new joint heads,” he said.

EEX and LPX account for just six percent of the German power market, which has an annual demand of around 550 terawatt hours.