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European energy exchange APX-Endex said Monday it plans to separate itsgas and electricity businesses into an electricity spot and clearing businessand a derivatives and spot natural gas business, each with new owners.

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US futures exchanges operator IntercontinentalExchange has agreed to buy 79.12% of the derivatives and spot natural gas business for an undisclosed sum, ICE said Monday in a joint statement with Dutch gas grid operator Gasunie.

Gasunie is to have a 20.88% stake in the new gas business -- the samestake it had in the combined APX-Endex business.

The electricity spot and clearing entity will be owned by Dutch powergrid operator TenneT as majority shareholder and Belgian power grid operatorElia, APX-Endex said in a statement Monday.

TenneT owns 56.1% of the combined APX-Endex business, while Elia owns20%.

Belgian gas grid operator Fluxys, which owns 3% of APX-Endex, will notbe a shareholder in either of the two new entities, APX-Endex said.

The electricity and clearing entity is to "continue its focus ondelivering the integrated electricity market through its involvement innumerous projects such as the North West European price coupling, flow-basedmarket coupling and the establishment of an integrated European intradaymarket," APX-Endex said.

It will also remain the clearing house for all electricity and gas spottrades on both businesses, APX-Endex added.

"The derivatives and gas spot entity intends to provide a highly liquidand efficient continental European hub for trading gas and power derivatives,as well as integrated gas within-day balancing markets and gas storagemarkets," APX-Endex said.

"As the balancing market operator of the UK OCM and Dutch TTF market,the derivatives and gas spot entity will also continue to extend thisexpertise to other markets, starting with the launch of the Belgian spot andbalancing ZTP market end of September 2012," it added.

APX-Endex said the planned split and ICE's involvement are subject to regulatory approvals. It expects to finalize the deals around year end.

--Siobhan Hall, siobhan_hall@platts.com
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, alisdair_bowles@platts.com