Viability of UBS’ online energy trading in doubt

A UBS spokeswoman said the online platform would be unavailable until the transition is complete in April next year, and that UBS would be evaluating the system during that period. But a source at the company told RiskNews the future of the online platform is in doubt. “The ‘evaluation’ just means they are still trying to determine when, and if, the site will be brought back up. I think part of the evaluation is to determine if the online platform is necessary once the transition is complete,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

UBS Warburg Energy is continuing to maintain all products and markets via telephone. “The only thing that will change is that you can no longer do business with us online [until the end of the evaluation period],” said the spokeswoman. Asked if closing the online platform would result in a decline in business, Walker said UBS anticipated its customers would do the same business by telephone. No figures are available for UBSWenergy.com’s volumes, although a New York-based broker, who asked not to be named, told RiskNews in September that UBS had made a slow start in electricity trading. “Their online system has also been pretty vacant,” he said.

UBS acquired EnronOnline in February 2002. No cash changed hands, with the deal based instead around a royalty payment based on future pre-tax profits from the group. According to Walker, the consolidation of energy operations to Stamford does not change the deal with Enron. “UBS had pledged one third of all future pre-tax profits to Enron – and this agreement with Enron is unchanged. Energy remains a separate business entity.”

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