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GF Financial Becomes First Chinese Company to Trade on LME Floor

GF Financial Markets (U.K.) Ltd. became the first Chinese-owned company entitled to trade on the floor of the London Metal Exchange, the world’s largest metals marketplace said.

The GF Securities Co.-owned brokerage, formed from Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd., was approved as a Category 1 member, the bourse said in a notice today. The date that London-based GF Financial will start trading and clearing contracts will be announced, the exchange said. The former unit of Natixis SA left the LME floor in July 2012 following the Paris-based bank’s decision to shut its commodities brokerage business.

GF Financial, currently a Category 2 member, will join 10 companies that include JPMorgan Chase & Co. and INTL FCStone Inc. on the floor of the LME, known as the ring. Jefferies Group Inc., which hired some of Natixis’s floor traders, stopped trading on the floor in November after 14 months. Barclays Plc exited the ring last year.

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Category 1 members are entitled to trade in the ring, LME Select, the London bourse’s electronic platform, and the telephone market, while Category 2 members are restricted to transacting by telephone and via LME Select.

GF Futures Hong Kong, a unit of GF Securities, a Guanghzhou, China-based securities firm, bought Natixis Commodity Markets for $36.1 million last year. The company retained some of the brokerage’s senior management including Andy Gooch, its managing director.

The LME also approved Vitol S.A., energy trading firm, and Lee Kee Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based metals supplier, as Category 5 members, the bourse said in separate notices today.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, which bought the LME for $2.2 billion last year, pledged to maintain floor trading until at least January 2015.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at