x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai Mercantile Exchange names new chief as it targets Asian markets

Dubai Mercantile Exchange has appointed Christopher Fix as its new chief executive in an effort to increase sales of its flagship crude contracts to fast-growing Asian economies.

Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) has appointed a new chief executive in an effort to increase sales of its flagship crude contracts to fast-growing Asian economies.

The futures exchange appointed Christopher Fix, a former head of marketing for commodity futures in Asia Pacific for BNP Paribas.

The move was a statement of intent from DME that its future lies in Asian markets, said Ahmad Sharaf, the exchange's chairman.

"When we restructured the DME in February of this year, we signalled our intention to place more emphasis on the increasingly important Asian market," he said. "The appointment of Christopher Fix as the new DME chief executive, with the Asian market knowledge and experience he brings, is a real tangible expression of that commitment."

Liquidity of the DME Oman contracts has risen steadily since its inception as its ambitions of providing an alternative to Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil benchmarks gain credibility.

A total of 123,162 contracts traded on the exchange in April compared with 50,307 in the same month a year earlier. In February, DME underwent a change of ownership as the debt-laden Dubai Holding aimed to divest from its investments, allowing for an influx of new capital.

The holding company, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, decreased its indirect shareholdings from 25 per cent to 9 per cent.

As part of a recapitalisation agreement, CME Group, the world's largest futures exchange, increased its shareholding in DME from 25 to 50 per cent, while Oman Investment Fund upped its ownership from 25 per cent to 29 per cent.

The remaining 12 per cent of the company's shares were transferred to strategic partners including Shell, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Concord Energy.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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