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UPDATE 1-EEX Group buys commodities business of Nasdaq Futures

By Vera Eckert

* EEX takes over core assets including open interest

* U.S. power contracts to move first, by December 2019

* EEX continues growth across geographies, freight markets (Adds detail from statement, context)

By Vera Eckert

FRANKFURT, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Energy exchange EEX Group said on Tuesday it had agreed with U.S.-based Nasdaq Futures (NFX) to buy NFX's futures and options exchange business as it continued to expand its presence in U.S. energy markets and in sea-borne commodities.

Under the deal, EEX, part of Deutsche Boerse, would receive NFX' core assets, it said in a statement.

Existing open positions in U.S. power, U.S. natural gas, crude oil, ferrous metals, dry bulk freight futures and options contracts would be transferred to the two EEX Group's clearing houses, Nodal Clear and ECC.

The value of the transaction was not specified.

"This is a landmark deal for EEX Group as we continue to follow our global expansion strategy," said EEX Chief Executive Peter Reitz.

"It will bring significant benefits for our client base worldwide."

The statement quoted Kevin Kennedy, Nasdaq senior vice president of North American market services, as saying Nasdaq had entered U.S. energy and freight markets in response to client wishes.

"After evaluating the steady progress we made to expand our client base and grow open interest, the next step forward is for EEX and Nodal to continue this mission," he said.

The timetable would entail Nodal Exchange and Nodal Clear to complete the integration of U.S. power contracts by December 2019 while EEX and ECC aimed to complete the transfer of all open positions in dry bulk freight by February 2020, the statement said.

U.S. natural gas, crude oil and ferrous metals contracts will transfer to Nodal in spring 2020.

While commodities form a small part compared to other Nasdaq offerings of equities, options, fixed income and derivatives, for EEX, the transaction adds considerable weight to its global growth strategy.

In recent years, EEX, originally a European electricity bourse, has branched out to acquire U.S. peer Nodal, which added gas trading in September, and widened its access, also via its EEX Asia subsidiary, to all time zones.

This allowed global price arbitrage as well as clearing and registry services, which in turn helped boost liquidity.

EEX platforms serve more than 600 participants trading energy, carbon, freight, metals and agricultural products. (Reporting by Vera Eckert Editing by Arno Schuetze and David Evans)