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LME gets industry execs on board ahead of steel contracts launch

* Four new industry executives join LME's steel committee

* Execs from Goldman Sachs, scrap recycler Sims on board

* Industry waits for market makers to back contracts (Adds quote, rewrites)

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) has appointed four new members to its steel committee, including leading industry executives who are backing the exchange's new steel rebar and scrap contracts ahead of their launch in November.

The newcomers include Goldman Sachs' Philip Killicoat and William Schmiedel from Sims Group, the world's largest listed scrap metals recycler.

Also joining are Spencer Johnson from broker INTL FCStone and Gianpiero Repole from Liberty Commodities, a trade house.

The LME, the world's biggest marketplace for trading base metals, is also close to sealing deals with market makers to guarantee liquidity for the new contracts.

"There's a lot of interest in hedging scrap and rebar ... what's preventing us is a lack of liquidity in (existing) contracts so having a market maker would be lovely to see," said Antonio Novi, a director at Levmet, a metals trader that also provides hedging services to industrial companies.

The LME said it has also appointed Christian Schirmeister, a metals veteran formerly at JP Morgan, to help promote the contracts.

However, Novi said he was not yet entirely confident the contracts would succeed.

Industry experts say that for real longevity, the contracts will need support from several major banks and the participation of top steelmakers and institutional investors.

Steel derivatives have failed in recent years, including the LME's own billet future, partly because steelmakers outside China shunned them.

This attitude is slowly changing, though, especially in iron ore, a key steelmaking ingredient.

"Steelmakers have been looking at trading iron ore as a way of covering their price risk, but a lot of them don't have a mandate (from management) to trade because trading is seen as speculation," said an industry participant.

According to the LME website, Tata Steel, Europe's second-largest steelmaker, will take part in a ferrous metals panel during the LME Week industry event in London this October.

Sources told Reuters last year the steelmaker had taken a board level decision to start using iron ore derivatives, adding that the world's biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, was already dipping its toes into the market..

The LME steel committee, which advises the exchange on matters like contract launches and specifications, also counts key steelmakers like U.S.-based AK Steel and the Turkish Steel Exporters Association as members.

It does not have a big steel end-user on board, but end-users are not generally sceptical of steel derivatives and are already using iron ore contracts as a proxy for hedging their steel input costs.

The LME has been under pressure to boost earnings since it was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) in 2012 for a hefty $2.2 billion. Its new steel contracts will be Europe-based and cash settled, so they cannot be crippled by problems withdrawing metal from LME warehouses as was the case with the billet contract.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by William Hardy and Susan Fenton)