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    Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange Group's consolidated net profit increased 150%, year-on-year, in 2006, to 2.5 billion rubles ($94.2 million), its president said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange Group's consolidated net profit increased 150%, year-on-year, in 2006, to 2.5 billion rubles ($94.2 million), its president said Wednesday.

    Alexander Potyomkin told a news conference that the total volume of trade on MICEX doubled compared to 2005, to 52,000 billion rubles ($1,960 billion).

    Founded in the early 1990s during post-Soviet market reforms, the MICEX Group is comprised of MICEX, the MICEX Stock Exchange, the National Mercantile Exchange, the MICEX Settlement House, the National Depositary Center, the National Clearing Center, and regional exchanges.

    Its consolidated net profit, calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards, stood at 1.09 billion rubles (about $38 million) in 2005, up 86.7% on 2004.

    By total value of trading, MICEX is the largest exchange in Russia, the CIS and Eastern Europe, and is now among the world's top-20 exchanges, Potyomkin said.

    This is mainly due to the corporate securities market, which saw a 3.2-fold increase in 2006, while the government segment expanded 60%. The total volume of trade in securities reached 14,860 billion rubles ($559.7 billion) in 2006, up 270% on 2005, he said.

    He said trading in shares of Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] accounted for about one-third of the market (32%), followed by state-run electricity monopoly Unified Energy System [RTS: EESR] with 14.6%, metals giant Norilsk Nickel [RTS: GMKN, LSE: MNOD] with 6.3%, and Sberbank [RTS: SBER], Russia's leading state-controlled retail savings bank, with 6.1%.

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