Sempra buys CMS' gas trading business

Sempra already has a strong gas trading presence in both the US and Europe, and the deal is likely to strengthen the company's position in the market, the spokesman added. It is unclear whether Sempra will retain the CMS gas traders.

Earlier this month, CMS said it was considering exiting the energy trading business after it found that round-trip trades were undertaken by the company to raise CMS marketing, services and trading's profile with existing and potential clients. The Securities and Exchange Commission, US Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are currently investigating CMS' round-trip trades. Round-trip trades take place when two parties buy and sell contracts at the same price to inflate the size of their trading books.

CMS also has a sizeable power trading business, which is rumoured to be on the market. The Sempra spokesman would not comment on whether the company was bidding for that part of the CMS business, and CMS was not immediately available for comment.

In January, Sempra acquired Enron Metals, then one of the leading metals trader on the London Metals Exchange, in a $145 million cash deal.

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