Exclusive: Deutsche Bank talks with buyers for its uranium business

Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:11am EST
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By David Sheppard

LONDON (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote) is holding preliminary talks with potential buyers of its uranium trading business - the first sign since announcing it was largely exiting commodities trading that parts of the operation are now on the block.

The bank's uranium desk is one of the biggest third-party traders in the market, and holds substantial stockpiles of low-grade uranium, known as yellowcake, and numerous long-term deals with nuclear power plants.

The bank has had a number of expressions of interest in its uranium business, and expects to start a formal sales process early in the first quarter, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Deutsche Bank announced it was shuttering its global commodities trading business on December 5, cutting 200 jobs in the face of toughening regulations and lower profits. The majority of commodity traders have already left the bank.

The bank is retaining a core team known as the Special Commodities Group to wind down its operations, and will retain a number of purely financial commodities traders. The bank will also retain its precious metals business.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment on the discussions surrounding the uranium business.

Goldman Sachs, the other major bank active in uranium trading, is also selling its nuclear fuel arm, but has said it remains committed to its J.Aron commodities franchise where many of its most senior executives started their careers.

URANIUM SALE   Continued...

A man walks past Deutsche Bank offices in London December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor