CME looking to open futures exchange in London-FT

SINGAPORE, April 10 Mon Apr 9, 2012 9:46pm EDT

SINGAPORE, April 10 (Reuters) - CME Group is considering opening a futures exchange in London to expand in Europe where it has a clearing business, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing the Europe head of the U.S.-based exchange operator.

CME is one of four bourses on a shortlist of bidders for the London Metal Exchange, and the newspaper said CME's plan may be an alternative option in case it does not win the bid for LME.

CME has operated a clearing house in London since last year, but because of the group's wide product range, "we would have to consider what we would do on the (exchange-traded) futures side, so we would need to have an exchange (in London)", the newspaper quoted William Knottenbelt as saying.

CME's main rival, InterContinental Exchange (ICE), has operated a London energy futures exchange since its purchase of the International Petroleum Exchange in 2001.

Apart from CME, those shortlisted for the LME bid are ICE, NYSE Euronext and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd , sources told Reuters late last month.

The four exchanges are looking at LME operations in the city ahead of a May 7 deadline to make offers in the second bidding round of a process the 135-year-old bourse kicked off last September.