UK Petroleum Exchange Goes Public; Eyes Electricity Market

Members of the UK's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) unanimously voted to turn the exchange into a for-profit company. "We think this is the way forward for the market," says John Evans, who represents IPE member Spectron Futures Ltd. on the IPE board. "I'm very happy with it." The IPE will issue 11.45 million shares, each with a nominal value of 262 pence, valuing the exchange at 30 million sterling (US$48 million), says Bob Reid, IPE chairman. The new structure will help the exchange "to make progress in new, emerging markets, particularly electricity and gas," Reid says. Besides international benchmark Brent Blend crude, the IPE offers futures contracts in natural gas and gas oil, and wants to expand into the electricity market. Under the plan, which will be completed Apr. 3, ownership of the IPE will pass from members to a holding company, IPE Holdings, in which members will be issued shares. There will be no requirement to retain a shareholding in IPE Holdings to keep trading rights.

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