IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), which is said to be in the
hunt to buy the London Metal Exchange, is well positioned to
make acquisitions due to its strong balance sheet, according to
its top executives.
"We ended the quarter with
nearly $1 billion in cash, no net debt, low leverage and access
to a committed line of credit of $1.8 billion. As a result of
our strong balance sheet and cash generation, we are well
positioned to continue to invest in key strategic growth
initiatives and expand our existing businesses," senior vice
president and chief financial officer Scott A. Hill said during
the Atlanta-based companys first-quarter earnings call
"I think there were companies
that were mispriced to the upside, and the expectation is that
there are some companies that were mispriced to the downside,
and we would like to be opportunistic if those opportunities
came along," Jeffrey C. Sprecher, chairman and chief executive
officer, said during the call.
Hill pointed out the
companys clearing capabilities, which market sources said
would make ICE a good fit with the LME as the exchange is
looking to develop its own clearing capacity. "Today, we are
the only solution in the U.S. or Europe to have cleared even $1
trillion in notional value," Hill said.
Seventy-five percent of the
LMEs shareholders must approve a sale of the exchange,
according to AMM sister publication Metal
Bulletin, with some sources valuing the LME as high as
£2 billion ($3.24 billion).
ICE recorded first-quarter net
income of nearly $147.9 million, up 14.7 percent from $12.9
million in the same period last year, on revenue that rose 9.2
percent to $365.2 million from $334.3 million.