India's Financial Tech sells Singapore commodities bourse to ICE

Reuters

MUMBAI, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Embattled Indian trading platformprovider Financial Technologies (India) Ltd is sellingits Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) unit to IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc for $150 million.

Analysts had expected Financial Tech would shed some of itsownerships in exchanges to protect its core trading platformsbusiness as the company faces regulatory scrutiny that has sentits shares down more than 80 percent this year.

It will use the proceeds to repay foreign currency loans,the company said in a statement.

"SMX didn't add anything to their bottom-line," said AshishChopra, an analyst at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai.

"If, in a couple of years, their losses hadn't come downthey would have contemplated selling it, but it's come beforethat scheduled period of time simply because of what's happeningon the domestic front with all the regulatory scrutiny," Choprasaid.

Financial Tech has come under investigation by Indianregulators and police over suspected violations of rules oncontract durations at the National Spot Exchange (NSEL), acommodities exchange it owns.

Although SMX was considered by analysts to be the mostpromising of the global bourses partly or wholly owned byFinancial Technologies, it has attracted limited volumes sincestarting operations in 2010.

Financial Technologies does not provide a breakdown ofearnings for its units.

SMX, which trades mainly precious metals and base metals,had an annual turnover of $71 billion and average daily volumesof over 8,200 contracts, according to its website, well belowvolumes in Financial Tech's domestic exchanges.

For Atlanta-based ICE, the purchase of SMX marks its latestdeal after last week completing the acquisition of NYSEEuronext, which also gives it control of Liffe, Europe's No.2derivatives market.

Financial Tech shares rose 3 percent as of 0524 GMT, addingto a 20 percent gain on Monday and outperforming a 0.2 percentgain in the broader NSE index.

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