UPDATE 2-ICE nears Singapore launch as profit tops views

Wed Aug 5, 2015 1:28pm EDT
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(Adds details on ICE's Singapore exchange launch, CEO comments)

By John McCrank

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Intercontinental Exchange Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by increased market data and listing revenue, and said it plans to launch its Singapore futures exchange and clearing house in the fourth quarter.

ICE, which began as an energy exchange in 2000 and has expanded through acquisitions of companies including the New York Board of Trade and the New York Stock Exchange, said it earned $283 million, or $2.54 a share, in the second quarter, compared with $226 million, or $1.95 a share, a year earlier.

ICE has trading and clearing operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, and said Asia is a big focus going forward.

The Atlanta-based company said in late 2013 it would buy the Singapore Mercantile Exchange as its regional trading and clearing hub. It planned to relaunch the exchange as ICE Futures Singapore and ICE Clear Singapore in March of this year. But opposition by China to ICE's plan to use Chinese prices as references for its cotton and white sugar futures led to delays.

ICE's customers have also taken longer than expected to connect to the new platform, prompting further delays, ICE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher said on a call with analysts.

"We've done all the work that we've needed to do, put the staff in place, the systems in place and are basically ready to go," he said, regarding the fourth-quarter launch.

ICE has said it will begin trading contracts in 1 kilo (2.2 lb) gold futures, mini Brent crude futures and renminbi futures in Singapore. It plans to add other contracts later as demand for energy and commodities increases in the region.   Continued...