CC advises International Petroleum

Clifford Chance is among firms advising on the first-ever demutualisation of an investment exchange.

The International Petroleum Exchange is converting from a mutual organisation to a profit-making one. Corporate partners Simon Burgess and Hillary Evenett at Clifford Chance are advising the IPE with finance partner Lynn Johanson.

One plan involves an offer from the New York Mercantile Exchange, advisedby Ashurst Morris Crisp, to buy a stake of at least 55 per cent. It is understood that Ashursts was only instructed on the matter a fortnight ago and the firm is unwilling to confirm the partners involved.

A second plan, recommended by the IPE, is for five outside investors to buy 70 per cent, with members holding shares in the remaining 30 per cent.

The investors are five energy companies, including British Gas ,represented by Allen & Overy, Enron, advised by Slaughter and May and Belgium company Distrigas, using in-house counsel.The other two investors are the OM Group of Sweden and Norwegian company Nordpool.