April 13, 2007 / 2:44 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-ICE cuts about 60 NYBOT staff after merger

(Adds trader comment, background)

NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - The IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N) laid off about 60 New York Board of Trade employees on Thursday to reduce staff following the merger of the two exchanges, and no further cuts were expected, an ICE spokeswoman said Friday.

The Atlanta-based electronic energy derivatives marketplace acquired NYBOT in January and launched side-by-side electronic trading of its agricultural commodities in early February.

“When the acquisition of NYBOT was announced, head-count reductions were included in the synergies, as well as the costs of generous severance packages,” spokeswoman Kelly Loeffler stated in an e-mail.

“This is the most difficult phase of an acquisition, but it is a necessary step to remain competitive and create shareholder value,” she said.

The staff reduction was broad-based, with employees in technology, marketing and floor operations affected. About 230 NYBOT employees remain, Loeffler said.

“They cut the fat. The people were crying and walking off the floor yesterday.” one floor trader said.

In March, 59 percent of the soft commodity contracts — coffee, cocoa, sugar, cotton and frozen concentrated orange juice — traded on the electronic platform.

The ICE Trading Center at 2 World Financial Center, adjacent to the building that houses the New York Board of Trade, opened earlier this week.

ICE was established in 2000 and expanded to futures trading the following year. More recently in March, ICE surprised the industry with an unsolicited bid for the Chicago Board of Trade after Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. CME.N had already made a bid for CBOT Holdings Inc. BOT.N The rival bid remained on the table.

On Thursday, ICE announced it entered an agreement with Intelligence Press Inc. to acquire natural gas indexes published in Natural Gas Intelligence newsletters.

((Reporting by Marcy Nicholson, editing by Matthew Lewis; New York Commodity Desk; e-mail: marcy.nicholson@reuters.com; Reuters Messaging: marcy.nicholson.reuters.com@reuters.net; +1 646 223 6043)) Keywords: MARKETS ICE/NYBOT

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