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essar-and-cairn-energyLONDON: Essar Energy and Cairn Energy are expected to be demoted from the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, modestly diluting the commodity bias in Britain's blue-chip share index.

Specialty chemicals firm Croda International looks set to join the large-cap index for the first time, while Aberdeen Asset Management is tipped to rejoin the big guns.

Wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown, which had also looked in danger of losing its blue-chip status in the quarterly review, is expected to have gained a reprieve after a 1.6 percent rally on Tuesday.

The likely changes are based on the individual companies' market capitalisations at Tuesday's market close, with the information having been provided by FTSE.

The actual changes will be formally announced by the FTSE compiler after the market close later on Wednesday, after being confirmed by a FTSE committee and using the closing prices from Tuesday.

Changes will be effective after the market close on Friday, March 16.

Companies outside the FTSE 100 that grow to rank among the 90 largest by market capitalisation are automatically promoted to the blue-chip index, while the FTSE 100 firms with the lowest value, or that fall to 111th spot or below, drop into the FTSE Midcap 250 index.

India-focused energy firm Essar Energy looks the most certain change, its stock having plunged some 58 percent since the last quarterly index review on Dec. 7.

Essar's slide was exacerbated in February by its full-year results -- a 10 percent fall in core earnings, missing expectations and prompting a number of broker downgrades.

Essar joined the index in June 2010 with a number of other commodities companies.

The performance of oil explorer Cairn Energy has improved by nearly 3 percent since the time of the last quarterly review.

However, the outperformance of a number of FTSE 250 stocks has pushed the oil explorer's shares into demotion territory.

Cairn shares have seen the benefits of a big return of cash to shareholders in January, after the sale of its stake in Cairn India, but that has been balanced by strategy concerns and disappointing updates from its drilling programme in Greenland.

Mid-cap Croda, by contrast, has added some 10.5 percent in the three months since the last reshuffle, helped by a leg-up in late February after a near-26 percent jump in full-year pretax profit, leading brokers to raise their target prices.

Aberdeen Asset Management has benefited from an improving performance by equity markets over the quarter, with the group having seen a rise in total assets in its last trading update in January, despite further net client outflows from its funds.

Aberdeen shares have gained more than 11 percent over the quarter, outperforming a 10.6 percent rise by the FTSE 250.

Four other changes are likely to be made to the mid-cap index, according to FTSE calculations, with commodity stocks Avocet Mining, Petra Diamonds and Ruspetro potential new entries, and income fund NB Global Floating Rate expected to be promoted from the FTSE Small Cap index.

Allied Gold Mining, Impax Environmental Markets, JP Morgan European Smaller Companies Trust and Unite Group are the FTSE 250 firms in danger of relegation to the small caps.

Copyright Reuters, 2012