ETF Securities Inc., the London-based exchange-traded fund firm that began rolling out commodities products in the U.S. in 2009, is considering a possible initial public offering valued at $1 billion, according to a story published in the British publication Financial News.
The company, which now has more almost $4.5 billion in U.S.-listed ETF assets, has retained Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help it explore its strategic options, according to the Financial News story, which cited three people with knowledge of ETFS' plans. It also has ETFs listed in London, Australia and Asia, and has total assets under management of more than $28 billion.
The company's success as a purveyor of commodities ETFs-and its possible plans to organize an IPO-reflect the decade-long commodities boom that lifted prices of everything from cotton to gold to record levels. Part of that strength is related to a weak dollar, but much is also linked to the strong growth in emerging markets that has fueled demand of all kinds of industrial and agricultural commodities.
A U.S. spokesman for ETF Securities in New York declined to comment on what he called "speculation."
ETFS' first U.S. ETF was the ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca:SIVR), which it rolled out in July 2009. SIVR now has more than $983 million in assets, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.
The company rolled out the first physical gold ETF, a British-listed security, in March of 2004.
The biggest physical gold ETF, the U.S.-listed SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca:GLD), was rolled out in November 2004. It now has more than $60 billion in assets.
It wasn't clear from the Financial News report where ETFS might list its shares, if it does carry off an IPO.
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