Brink’s to Open One of Largest Bullion Vaults as ETPs Climb

The Brink’s Co., which stores and transports bullion, is set to open one of the world’s largest precious metals vaults in the London area within the next month, at a time when investors’ gold holdings are at a record.

The firm plans to open the facility with a major London clearing company and is considering opening another vault next year, Orit Eyal-Fibeesh, managing director for Brink’s in the U.K., said in an e-mail yesterday. The vault will be able to hold a “very substantial” amount of metal, she said, without being more specific.

Investors are buying more gold as a protection of wealth on speculation central banks will do more to bolster growth and amid Europe’s debt crisis. Holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded products reached a record 2,447.1 metric tons valued at $131 billion yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Malca-Amit Global Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc are among firms planning to open or increase bullion storage facilities.

“There’s demand for vaults,” Thorsten Proettel, an analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart, Germany, said today by phone. “People are looking for an alternative investment. We will have steady inflows in to precious metals.”

Brink’s, the third-biggest vaulting firm in the U.K. behind JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc, opened a precious metals vault in London last year and operates a number of facilities in the U.K., Eyal-Fibeesh said. Customers would be banks, trading houses, institutions, retails investors, governments and ETP providers, she said.

Gold for immediate delivery traded at $1,665.78 an ounce at 9:17 a.m. in London. It’s up 6.5 percent this year after 11 consecutive annual gains. Gold ETP holdings climbed 3.8 percent this year, compared with a 5 percent increase for silver, 9.2 percent for platinum and 16 percent for palladium products, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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