Russian oligarch buys into Hong Kong commodities exchange

17th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's holding company En+ Group said Thursday it had become a founding shareholder in the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx), acquiring a 10 percent stake in the bourse.

"We are glad to become a founding shareholder in HKMEx and take part in building Asia's exchange in Hong Kong -- one of the region's most prominent financial hubs," the company quoted its first deputy chief executive officer Artyom Volynets as saying in a statement.

"This dovetails with our growth strategy at En+ Group to capture exciting new opportunities in Asian markets that can be served efficiently by our core portfolio in nearby eastern Siberia," he said.

Registered in 2008, the commodities exchange aims to capitalise on the Chinese mainland's growing demand for oil and other raw materials. Trading is expected to start later this year, the joint statement said.

Founded in 2005 as the energy division of Deripaska's Basic Element group, En+ Group owns stakes in a number of companies, including a 47.59 percent stake in the world's largest aluminum firm, UC Rusal.

The company, which did not disclose financial details of the transaction, said it would have one representative on the HKMEx board of directors.

Deripaska's Rusal was the first Russian firm to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and its 2.2 billion US dollar IPO earlier this year was the city's biggest by a company from outside Asia.

"We're delighted to have En+ Group as a founding shareholder," HKMEx chairman Barry Cheung was quoted as saying in the joint statement.

"This will further enhance our position to build a robust commodities exchange where regional and global trading partners can interact to mutual benefit."

© 2010 AFP

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