Baltic Exchange shareholders approve takeover by Singapore Exchange

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Baltic Exchange shareholders on Monday approved an 87 million pound ($112 million) takeover by Singapore Exchange for one of London’s oldest institutions, in a deal that will give SGX access to the multi-billion-dollar freight derivatives market.

The proposed transaction, unanimously recommended by the Baltic’s board last month, was approved by shareholders at a general meeting in the historic City of London. It will now need regulatory approval, which shipping industry sources say is likely to be given.

As the global shipping industry struggles with poor market conditions, SGX offered - after months of talks - Baltic shareholders 160.41 pounds per share plus 19.30 pounds per share as a final dividend, giving the privately owned business a total valuation of about 87 million pounds.

Founded in 1744 as a forum for chartering vessels, the Baltic Exchange now produces benchmark indexes for global shipping rates and owns a trading platform for the freight derivatives market.

The Singapore Exchange, started in 1999, has made its offer as freight costs stay pressured, after a slump in commodity markets coincided with an increase in the number of vessels. ($1 = 0.7739 pounds) (Reporting by Jonathan Saul, Editing by Veronica Brown and Dale Hudson)