Trading of depositary receipts rose 27% last year, to a record 19 billion shares, according to Bank of New York Co.

The value of the receipts, issued by foreign companies in place of actual shares, increased 13%, to $625 billion.

Bank of New York, a major issuer and processor for depositary receipts, credited the increases to "expanding interest by investors in Europe for depositary receipts traded on European stock exchanges."

Until recently, most depositary receipts were issued and traded in the United States. Increasingly, however, they are being used in other countries to raise capital, for trading, and to boost investor interest in a particular company.

Bank of New York noted that non-U.S. companies from 37 countries raised $10.2 billion through 98 depositary receipt offerings in the U.S. and European public and private markets. Roughly one-third of that amount came from the privatization of state enterprises in 14 countries.

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