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IPE To Become For-Profit Company

February 21, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ The International Petroleum Exchange, Europe’s largest energy market, said Monday that it plans to transform itself from an enterprise owned by members into a for-profit business.

The exchange’s members voted unanimously to restructure the exchange with the aim of responding more quickly to opportunities and competitive threats.

The exchange, perhaps best known for its futures contracts in North Sea Brent crude oil, began operating in 1981. Its other contracts include heating oil and natural gas, and it hopes in June to launch a futures contract for electricity, spokeswoman Seana Lanigan said.

As a mutually owned exchange, the IPE needs the approval of 75 percent of its members for any changes in rules or policy. Under the new structure, a 15-member board of directors would be able to make most policy decisions. The exchange aims to complete its makeover by April 3.

In assuming for-profit status, the IPE is taking a cue from the London Stock Exchange, which announced plans last July to end its 240-year status as a member-owned organization and transform into a company controlled by shareholders.

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