Leading financial services groups ICICI, IL&FS and Kotak have
bought a combined 9.55% stake in the countryâ€™s largest commodity
derivatives exchange, Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX). The
transactions give MCX a valuation of over $1 billion.
ICICI Venture has picked up a 3.55% stake while IL&FS and Kotak have bought 5% and 1%, respectively. This will shrink the holding of Financial Technologies (FT)â€”MCXâ€™s main promoterâ€”to 37.5%. The compelling valuation story in exchangesâ€”as reflected by the institutional interest in bourses like NSE and BSEâ€”has been the driver behind the investments. According to ICICI Bank CEO KV Kamath, itâ€™s the bankâ€™s â€œphilosophy to partner with growth-oriented companies that seek to leverage technology and the power of markets for economic transformationâ€.
Earlier this year, FT had sold 5% each to Citi and Merrill Lynch at similar valuations. The comex, incidentally, has already expressed its aim to list itself. â€œWe are currently not looking at any further dilution of stake. The equity from the current stake sale will be deployed in improving the exchange infrastructure,â€ said MCX MD and CEO Jignesh Shah.
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