San Diego-based Sempra Energy and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on Thursday said RBS Sempra Commodities, their joint venture trading unit, had completed its previously announced $1.6 billion sale of select operations to J.P. Morgan, the investment banking arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. It includes the joint venture's European and Asian operations.

Discussions for disposing of the North American operations are ongoing, according to Sempra, which also said RBS's senior management continues "to discuss previously announced proposed amendments to [the joint venture] agreement." Earlier this year RBS and Sempra stressed that the sale of the Europe/Asia holdings was a prelude to the disposition of the other major part of the business -- North American power and gas trading (see Daily GPI, Feb. 26).

On Thursday Sempra said "an active sales process is under way" for the remaining North American gas and power businesses.

In breaking down the J.P. Morgan purchase, Sempra said its total share of proceeds was expected to equal about $1 billion, including $134 million in distributions received in April related to the sold businesses. J.P. Morgan now controls RBS Sempra Commodities' global metals and oil businesses, and European natural gas and power businesses.

This sale now was approved by regulators in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and Turkey, Sempra said.

In May on a first quarter earnings conference call, Sempra CEO Donald Felsinger predicted that the once-lucrative joint venture commodities business would be dissolved by the end of August (see Daily GPI, May 5).

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