MQG 0.57% $199.70 macquarie group limited

macquarie in line for energy firm

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    Macquarie in line for energy firm
    December 28, 2009

    MACQUARIE Group is closing in on its third and biggest major energy acquisition in a year. The British press has named it as one of three final bidders for the 2.5 billion ($A4.52 billion) Sempra energy trading business.

    A purchase would triple the $US900 million ($A1.02 billion) Macquarie Bank has spent on international investments this year in areas such as funds management and investment banking.

    It would cement its move away from its reliance on listed infrastructure satellites, which it has been dismantling for the past 18 months.

    Macquarie has been named along with US bank JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank as bidders for the RBS Sempra Commodities business. A sale is tipped to be soon.

    The Royal Bank of Scotland was told to sell it within four years by the European Commission as punishment for receiving state aid from the British Government. RBS, one of the largest victims of the financial crisis, is 83 per cent owned by the British taxpayer.

    RBS Sempra Commodities is a joint venture, 51 per cent owned by RBS and 49 per cent owned by Sempra Energy, a US company. Both stakes are expected to be sold for a price of about 2.5 billion.

    Reports in The Times and The Observer, before and after Christmas Day, citing sources close to the deal, name Macquarie as one of the final bidders.

    For Macquarie, the acquisition of Sempra would represent its largest move into the volatile energy trading area.

    In February, it bought Houston energy trader Constellation Energy for an estimated $US100 million.

    In May, it paid $US108 million for Canadian resource advisers Tristone Capital.

    The Times noted recently RBS Sempra traded commodities such as metals, oil, power and gas but made most of its money from proprietary trading.

    Proprietary trading, in which a business puts its own money at risk to profit on a trade, has been frowned upon as too risky for mainstream banks.

    Other purchases by Macquarie this year have included $US428 million for US fund manager and investment adviser Delaware Investments, $US147 million for US and British boutique investment bank Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller.
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