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Saint-Petersburg Exchange will expand traded assets ahead of IPO

* SPB Exchange is working on expanding product range

* Eyes adding more U.S., European shares

* Plans to add Asian stocks, launch derivatives, bond trading

* Says IPO is possible in 2022

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Saint-Petersburg Exchange, Russia’s major exchange for trading foreign stocks, may expand the range of its financial instruments before an initial public offering possible in 2022, the exchange’s top executive said in an interview.

Russia’s second-largest exchange saw trading volumes of foreign securities, in which it specialises, rising to a record high after the central bank had cut rates to an all-time low amid 2020 lockdowns imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, the SBP Exchange enjoyed a 10-fold year-on-year rise in trading volumes to $36.1 billion, outstripping its main rival, the Moscow Exchange, which saw around $30 billion turnover on its stock section.

Roman Goryunov, president of NP RTS Association, the main shareholder of the SPB Exchange, said the 2021 goal is to bring the number of U.S. stocks on offer to around 2,000, up from 1,523 by the end of 2020.

“One of our key goals is not just the listing of instruments but also provision of sufficient liquidity in them,” Goryunov said.

The exchange launched foreign stocks in 2014, trading U.S. shares when U.S. markets are closed due to the time difference. Tesla, Apple, Boeing and Amazon were its the most popular U.S. shares last year.

Having opened access to German stocks, the SPB Exchange plans to expand the number of European stocks on offer in the first half of 2021 and is considering adding Asian names.

In 2021, it will start preparing to launch a derivative section. It’s considering adding Russian stocks and bonds, including foreign ones, to its asset range, Goryunov said.

The SPB Exchange offers stocks in their native currency, conducting deals under Russian law. Foreign stocks are held by a depository in Russia and can be transferred to any depository worldwide.

The main currency on the Moscow Exchange, which also trades bonds, derivatives, FX and other instruments, is the Russian rouble.

IPO PLANS

SPB Exchange already trades its own shares but is considering an initial public offering on another exchange in 2022, seeking extra capital after turning profitable in the second quarter of 2020, Goryunov said. It will start choosing IPO arrangers this year, he said.

Asked if the exchange is considering a listing on the U.S. Nasdaq, where Russian firms, such as online retailer Ozon or brokerage Freedom Finance, trade, Goryunov said: “we will consider different options.” (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Elena Fabrichnaya; editing by Larry King)

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