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HOTLINE: Shut and open at LME ring-dealer Natixis?

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Rumours are sweeping the market that Natixis is fielding offers for the metals part of its business, which were sparked by its announcement on Wednesday May 9 that it planned to wind down its commodities brokerage.

The French bank said earlier this week it had failed to find a buyer and was therefore forced to close the business, which includes a London Metal Exchange ring-dealership.

Sources familiar with the situation suggested it almost clinched a sale in the first week of May.

While private negotiations failed to find a buyer before the wind-up was announced, "there were still several people who didn't know it was for sale, and those that did know it was for sale maybe didn't realise how little time they had", another source said.

Natixis's metals business, while capital intensive, was trading profitably, another source said.

"It was simply that the bank itself, with all the euro financing problems that it has, chose not to deploy capital in this one relatively narrow area," he said.

Natixis will continue to provide commodities trade finance and over-the-counter commodities sales and trading services after the brokerage unit is liquidated, Hotline understands.

Natixis declined to comment.

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