$1.5B Investment Nets $4B Bids

Apparently, three bids for the Royal Bank of Scotland's share of RBS Sempra Commodities came in at about $4 billion each. None of the bidders are talking, and neither are Sempra or RBS.

Royal Bank of Scotland is required to sell off its RBS Sempra Commodities share as part of its agreement to receive government bailouts during the Crash of 2008. Royal Bank of Scotland has been in the news lately as the leading financial underwriter for Dubai World. Dubai World recently asked for delays in making interest payments, resulting in a multi-billion-dollar gift from Abu Dhabi (which promptly sued Citi for the difference).

Dubai was recently cited in a CBS 60 Minutes report as part of the conflict gold smuggling route leading from the Congo through Uganda.

The original value of the RBS Sempra Commodities stake was $1.5 billion. Its subsidiary RBS Sempra Metals is a founding member of the London Bullion Market Association. Other RBS Sempra Commodities divisions include Sempra Energy Trading and Sempra Energy Solutions.

Obviously, it was a good bargain for both RBS and Sempra Energy that has more than doubled in value in the last decade.

Locally, Sempra Energy is the sole owner of San Diego electricity franchise holder SDG&E. According to Anne Krueger's business page article yesterday, progress in SDG&E talks about county power cutoffs are in Supervisor Dianne Jacob's words, "very slow."

If one looks carefully, one can see how Sempra Energy still makes billions each year, even during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.

One big reason may be revealed for our popular understanding in the mayor's State of the City address coming up this Wednesday. Or not.


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