Volume at the London Metal Exchange, the target of potential takeover bids, jumped 22 percent last year to a record 146.6 million lots, the exchange said on Thursday.

The value traded at the LME, the world's top market for industrial metals, rose 32.8 percent to $15.4 trillion (10.06 trillion pound), it added in a statement.

With... 80 per cent of the market share in global metal futures transactions, the LME maintains its leading position in the global metals market, Chief Executive Martin Abbott said.

Potential suitors were preparing bids, but it was too early to say if the board would recommend a bid, it said.

The statement give no further information about bidders, but a source told Reuters on Wednesday that 15 suitors had expressed interest in the LME, which metal industry sources have said could be worth as much as 1 billion pounds.

One or two suitors who had received detailed financial data about the exchange had asked for further information and more suitors were likely to emerge in coming days, said the source, who had direct knowledge of the matter.

There is market speculation that the list of potential acquirers may include CME Group Inc , IntercontinentalExchange and UK-based broker ICAP .

Singapore Exchange , the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, the London Stock Exchange , and Deutsche Boerse-owned Eurex have also been mentioned by metals sources.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by Alison Birrane and Jason Neely)