Metals warehousing could have scuppered LME sale: Li

LONDON Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:38am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Metals warehousing practices could have seen the Hong Kong stock exchange (0388.HK) walk away from its $2.2 billion takeover of the London Metal Exchange, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Chief Executive Charles Li said on Monday.

"The one area in LME (sale) process that potentially would have been one issue we could have walked away from that would be warehousing," Li told a seminar in London.

The LME's warehousing operations have been dogged by criticism since big banks and trading houses including Goldman Sachs (GS.N), JP Morgan Chase (JPM.N) and Glencore (GLEN.L) bought warehouse companies.

LME shareholders voted in July to accept a $2.2 billion offer by the Hong Kong bourse for the 135-year-old British institution, underscoring a global shift in manufacturing to China, Asia's economic powerhouse.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel and Harpreet Bhal; editing by Veronica Brown and Keiron Henderson)

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