Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. is a multinational commodity trading company founded in 1993 that trades in base metals and energy. Headquartered in Singapore, Trafigura is legally registered in Singapore. Farringford N.V., registered in Curaçao, is the ultimate parent company. It is the world's second largest private oil trader after Vitol and the world's largest private metals trader.
|Jeremy Weir, (CEO)|
|Revenue||US$ 180.7 billion (2018)|
|US$ 0.872 billion (2018)|
|Total assets||US$ 53.8 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
|4,316 (2018) |
Trafigura was set up by Claude Dauphin and Eric de Turckheim. It split off from a group of companies managed by Marc Rich in 1993. Before his death, in September 2015, Dauphin owned less than 20% of the company, with the rest owned by 500 senior staff.
Trafigura has been named or involved in several scandals, particularly the 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump, which left up to 100,000 people with skin rashes, headaches and respiratory problems. The company was also involved in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Scandal.
Trafigura has built or purchased stakes in pipelines, mines, smelters, ports and storage terminals.
Trafigura Beheer BV was established as a private group of companies in 1993 by six founding partners: Claude Dauphin, Eric de Turckheim, Graham Sharp, Antonio Cometti, Daniel Posen and Mark Crandall. Claude Dauphin, Executive Chairman and the last remaining founder in an executive position, owns less than 20 per cent of the group’s equity while more than 700 senior managers control the rest. Initially focused on three regional markets – South America (oil and minerals), Eastern Europe (metals) and Africa (oil) – Trafigura has since diversified and expanded globally. In November 2013 it was announced that Tory peer and former leader of the House of Lords Baron Strathclyde, Thomas Galbraith would be joining Trafigura as a non-executive director. He had previously stood down from the board of the group’s hedge fund arm following the 2009 controversy over the Côte d'Ivoire incident.
In February 2013 Trafigura invested $800 million in the Australian energy market, acquiring more than 250 petrol stations, two oil import terminals and five fuel depots in three separate acquisitions by its subsidiary Puma Energy. At the time, there was interest in Australia among energy traders due to a combination of rising demand and the closure of outdated, high-cost refineries. The same month, Trafigura joint venture DT Group partnered with Angola’s state oil firm Sonangol to form a new company, Sonaci DT Pte Ltd, to market Angola’s new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
In March 2013, Trafigura announced a deal with South Sudan to export Dar Blend crude oil from Port Sudan. The agreement with South Sudan was a continuation of Trafigura's longtime presence in the Sudanese oil market and followed the resolution of a legal dispute between Sudan and South Sudan over transit fees and oil revenues.
In October 2013 Trafigura secured USD 1.5 billion in financing for an upfront loan to Russian oil producer OAO Rosneft. The prepayment facility, which provided a loan for advance payment for more than 10 million tons of products over five years, was the largest such deal ever completed by Trafigura.
A month later Trafigura signed an agreement with Dallas-based pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners to transport crude oil and condensate via a partially converted 82-mile pipeline from the Eagle Ford oil field in McMullen County, Texas, to Trafigura’s deep-water terminal at Corpus Christi Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico.
In July 2014 Trafigura launched Lykos, an online platform in India to sell metals to small and medium-sized manufacturers in the country.
In June 2015 Trafigura announced a 50:50 joint venture with Abu Dhabi investment company Mubadala Development Company—to invest in base metals mining. As part of the agreement Mubadala also acquired 50% of Trafigura's Minas de Aguas Teñidas (Matsa) mining operation, which owns three mines in southern Spain that produce copper, zinc and lead concentrate ores. This followed a doubling of processing capacity at the company's MATSA mining operation in Andalusia, Spain, where two new satellite mines are also being developed.
In August 2015 it was reported that Trafigura subsidiary Impala Terminals is investing USD1 billion in Colombia to develop a new inland road, rail and river network connecting major coastal ports with Colombia's industrial heartland. The Magdalena River, which runs between Barrancabermeja inland and Barranquilla on the Atlantic coast, will allow transportation of crude oil and petroleum products, dry bulk, containerised and general cargo to and from inland Colombia.
In October 2016 it was announced that Trafigura and Russian investment group United Capital Partners would each take a 24 per cent stake in Essar Oil, which owns India’s second-biggest private refinery in the western state of Gujarat as well as a network of 2,700 filling stations.
Bond issuances and reported earningsEdit
In 2008, the company had equity of more than $2 billion and a turnover of $73 billion that generated $440 million of profit.
The following month Trafigura listed its first perpetual subordinated bond on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) at a fixed rate of 7.625%. The issuance raised $500m in long-term capital that is treated as equity by international accounting rules, leaving existing shareholders undiluted.
In 2013 as a consequence of the Singapore listing, Trafigura released financial statements for the first time, reporting Q1 profits of $216.1 million – up 3.2 per cent on the previous year. Revenue grew 7.9 per cent to USD 31.2 billion.
In March 2016, Trafigura closed a 46 million yen ($413 million) three-year loan, doubling the size of its 2014 Samurai loan.
The company was named in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Scandal in connection with a Liberian-registered turbine tanker, Essex, that had UN approval to load Iraqi crude at Iraq’s main export terminal at Mina al-Bakr. The tanker was chartered by Trafigura Beheer BV. According to her captain, Theofanis Chiladakis, the Essex was 'topped off' at least twice, with a total of 272,000 barrels of crude, after UN monitors had signed off the cargo. This was on 13 May and 27 August 2001. Elf Aquitaine employees had first talked about this scheme in February 1998.
Waste dumping in Côte d'IvoireEdit
The 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump was a health crisis in Côte d'Ivoire in which the Probo Koala, a ship registered in Panama and chartered by Trafigura, hired a local contractor to offload waste in Abidjan after refusing to pay a €1,000 per cubic metre surcharge imposed by Amsterdam Port Services to discourage waste disposal in the Netherlands. The local contractor, Tommy, improperly dumped the waste materials at as many as 12 sites in and around the city of Abidjan in August 2006. The gas caused by the release of these chemicals is blamed by the UN and the government of Côte d'Ivoire for the deaths of 17 and the injury of over 30,000 Ivorians, with injuries that ranged from mild headaches to severe burns of skin and lungs. Almost 100,000 Ivorians sought medical attention after prime minister Charles Konan Banny offered free medical care in Abidjan’s hospitals to the city’s residents.
Trafigura maintains that the substance dumped consisted of "slops", or waste water from washing the Probo Koala's tanks. An inquiry in the Netherlands, in late 2006, confirmed the substance to consist of more than 500 tonnes of a mix of fuel, hydrogen sulfide, and sodium hydroxide, known as caustic soda. After the start of the health crisis in Abidjan, the Probo Koala arrived at the port of Paldiski in Estonia where Trafigura permitted Dutch police onboard to conduct an investigation.
Trafigura denied any waste was transported from the Netherlands, saying that the substances contained only tiny amounts of hydrogen sulfide, and that the company did not know the substance was to be disposed of improperly. Trafigura officials, including Claude Dauphin and the company’s West Africa regional director, traveled to Abidjan to assist in the cleanup effort but were arrested and imprisoned by the Ivorian government. While its executives were being held, the company agreed to pay US$198 million for cleanup to the Ivorian government without admitting wrongdoing, and the Ivorian government pledged not to prosecute the company. Dauphin and his fellow executives were released following the settlement.
In 2008 a civil lawsuit in London was launched by almost 30,000 Ivorians against Trafigura. In May 2009 Trafigura announced it would sue the BBC for libel after its Newsnight program alleged the company had knowingly sought to cover up its role in the incident. In September 2009 The Guardian obtained and published internal Trafigura emails showing that the traders responsible knew how dangerous the chemicals were. Shortly afterwards Trafigura agreed to a settlement of £30 million (US$42.4 million) to settle the suit. In 2010 a Dutch court found Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam. On 16 June 2016, law firm Leigh Day, which represented the Ivorian claimants, was found to have breached a contract and its duty of care after £6 million of the 2009 settlement funds were embezzled by a third-party organisation, which made a fraudulent claim against the funds.
Chemical explosion in NorwayEdit
On 24 May 2007 an explosion occurred in Sløvåg Gulen, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway in a tank owned by Vest Tank, that had severe environmental and health consequences for people living nearby. In 2008 the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation published the 50 min documentary "Dirty Cargo" disclosing what had happened in the small community prior to the explosion. The company Vest Tank was trying to neutralize the same kind of chemical waste that was dumped in Côte d'Ivoire when the explosion occurred. The owner of the waste was Trafigura, on whose behalf Vest Tank was working. Even so, Norwegian authorities did not prosecute Trafigura and the company was not accused of direct responsibility in the Vest Tank incident. Requests by Norwegian police to interview Trafigura employees were not granted by the company.
Price fixing in MaltaEdit
In February 2013, Trafigura Maritime Ventures Limited—the Malta based subsidiary of Trafigura Maritime Logistics PTE Limited based in Singapore—and the oil trading arm of Total became involved in an oil price fixing controversy that led them to both be barred from the tendering process at the Enemalta oil purchasing board. Between 1999 and 2012, Enemalta paid the two companies $3.2 billion for oil, accounting for 70% of the oil purchased by Enemalta in that time period.
Trade of toxic diesel to AfricaEdit
In 2016, the Swiss non-governmental organisation Public Eye published the results of its investigation showing how traders – especially Trafigura – prepare and sell "African quality" toxic fuel to Africa, containing high levels of sulphur that causes particulate matter pollution, damaging people's health. Subsequently, Ghana reduced the maximum limit of sulphur in imported diesel fuel from 3000 to 50 parts per million, from March 2017 (the European limit is 10 parts per million). Trafigura stated that the report was "misconceived" as they only supply legal fuel and that it is up to governments to set fuel specifications.
Brazilian Operation Car WashEdit
In November 2018 Global Witness asked the Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom) and the US authorities to investigate alleged ties between the Brazilian Operation Car Wash scandal and the three oil trading companies including Trafigura.
Trafigura operates 65 offices in 36 countries.
Trafigura is the third-largest physical commodities trading group in the world behind Vitol and Glencore. Trafigura sources, stores, blends and transports raw materials including oil, refined petroleum products and non-ferrous metals (iron ore and coal).
Trade in non-ferrous and bulk commodities – mainly copper, lead and zinc concentrate, alumina, refined metals of copper, lead, zinc and aluminium as well as the iron ore and coal trading books – made up 13% of Trafigura’s overall trading turnover in 2016. The group traded 8.2 million tonnes of non-ferrous metal concentrates and 6.6 million tonnes of non-ferrous refined metal during the year. Overall volume across metals and minerals increased by 13% from 2015 to 59 million tonnes.
Trading volumes in oil and petroleum products totalled 4.3 million barrels a day in 2016, up 42% from 3 million barrels a day in 2015.
In October 2016 Trafigura sold five medium-range tankers to China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co, marking its exit from owning product tankers.
In support of its arbitrage-based business model, Trafigura ensures a degree of control over supply, storage and logistics through industrial subsidiaries: oil storage and distribution business Puma Energy, in which Trafigura holds a 49% interest.
In May 2015, the Financial Times reported that Trafigura has become a major exporter for Rosneft crude oil from Russia despite sanctions. The company has seen a surge for such exports, almost 9 million barrels of crude in April 2015, mostly for Asian markets, financed by pre-pay oil deals in form of short term loans that are not subject to sanctions. While some commodity traders have been cautious dealing with sanctioned companies, Trafigura, which works with a number of global banks financing the oil deals, has found a reliable partner in Rosneft for global business.
Some of Trafigura's major international units include:
- Trafigura Beheer BV, based in the Netherlands. In 1999 it became the first company to obtain a contract to sell Sudan's oil internationally.
- Impala Group of Companies, which operate the group’s worldwide oil storage and distribution assets and investments has been a wholly owned subsidiary since 2001.
- Puma Energy, which operates in more than 20 countries, mainly in Central America and Africa, and supplies a network of just over 600 service stations. On 7 May 2012, Puma entered into an agreement to buy out the key shareholders in KenolKobil, the largest independent oil marketing company in east and central Africa, which could add 400 stations to its network. However, Puma Energy later terminated its bid to acquire the oil marketer.
- EMINCAR, based in La Habana, Cuba until 2010. Dedicated to consulting and mineral logistics administration.
- Galena Asset Management, based in Switzerland, is the subsidiary through which Trafigura has established and manages a fund management business. Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords, is a non-executive director on the board.
- "2018 Annual Report".
- Javier Blas (22 May 2012). "Singapore's low taxes lure Trafigura". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
- Ammann, Daniel (2009). The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. New York: St. Martin‘s Press. ISBN 0-312-57074-0.
- Leigh, David (16 September 2009). "Inside Trafigura: Accusations, sour deals and friends in high places". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
- Blas, Javier (28 January 2013). "Trafigura boss doubts rally will return". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Ball, James; Davies, Harries (23 July 2015). "UK authorities 'lack resources' to investigate Trafigura over toxic waste".
- Hoffman, Andy (8 December 2014). "Trafigura Gross Margin Widens After Oil, Coal Volumes Climb". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Blas, Javier; Sakoui, Anousha (11 March 2010). "Publicity-shy Trafigura pushes for bond issue". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "U.S. Rare Earth: co-créateur de Trafigura au conseil" [U.S. Rare Earth : co-creator of Trafigura board]. L’AGEFI (in French). Geneva. 7 January 2013. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Serafin, Tatiana (2 August 2013). "Riding Glencore Wave, Commodity Trader Claude Dauphin Becomes a Billionaire". Forbes. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "Bond Prospectus 17 Apr 2013". (1.4 MB)
- Blas, Javier; Farchy, Jack (14 April 2013). "Trafigura adds Lord Strathclyde to board". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Blas, Javier (3 June 2011). "Big traders emerge from the shadows as demand grows". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Mining Journal - Trader Trafigura buys 8% of Norilsk". Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "Trafigura to Spend $68 Million on Australian Import Terminal". Hellenic Shipping News. 5 February 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Shumsky, Tatyana (28 February 2013). "Trafigura's Puma Energy Snaps Up Central Combined Group". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Blas, Javier (3 February 2013). "Trafigura bets $800m on Australia energy". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Farge, Emma (28 February 2013). "Angola, Trafigura JV form LNG trading group". Reuters. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Farge, Emma (27 March 2013). "Trafigura signs oil export deal with South Sudan". Reuters. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "UPDATE 2-Trafigura signs oil export deal with South Sudan". Reuters UK. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- Kent, Sarah (4 October 2013). "Trafigura Signs $1.5B Prepayment Deal For Rosneft Supply". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Murtaugh, Dan (7 November 2013). "Energy Transfer to Covert Texas Gas Pipeline to Carry Crude". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Pickrell, Emily (7 November 2013). "New crude pipeline provides more access to Gulf Coast for Eagle Ford". Fuel Fix. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "Trafigura to buy 30 pct of Jinchuan copper smelter in China". Reuters. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Trafigura targets $8 bln India metals market with online store". The Financial Express. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Zhdannikov, Dmitry (29 June 2015). "Abu Dhabi buys into Trafigura's Spanish mines as part of new venture". Reuters. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Trafigura announces strong 2014 results; confident future outlook". Commodities Now. 8 December 2014. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Place, Michael (10 August 2015). "Colombia's river of dreams". Business News Americas. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Mundy, Simon (16 October 2016). "Rosneft leads $13bn purchase of Essar Oil". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- Blas, Javier; Pearson, Samantha (31 March 2010). "Trafigura to sell €400m in Eurobonds". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Peaple, Andrew (12 April 2013). "Trafigura Bond Opens Up Traders' World". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Pierre Lorinet, CFO Trafigura and Javier Blas, FT commodities editor (16 April 2013). Bond markets lure trading houses. Financial Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Blas, Javier; Farchy, Jack (10 April 2013). "Trafigura raises $500m with perpetual bond". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "2014 Trafigura Financials".
- Blas, Javier (20 December 2012). "Trafigura earns nearly $1bn twice in a row". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Narayanan, Pratish (23 April 2013). "Trafigura Profit Rises as Increased Oil Volumes Boost Revenue". Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- "Trafigura clinches $5.1 billion loan as trading grows". Reuters. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Kuchinsky, Valery (31 December 2001). "Letter from the Acting Chairman of the Security Council Committee (sic) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait" (PDF). United Nations, New York, USA: United Nations Security Council. p. 26. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to take the same measure with regard to the company Trafigura Beheer B.V. On 23 November, the Office of the Iraq Programme provided the Committee with proposals for additional operating procedures for crude oil monitoring.
- Hoyos, Carola (28 October 2005). "Big oil groups implicated in oil-for-food scandal". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
- "Probo Koala: the cargo and journey of the Trafigura-chartered supertanker - LE SCANDALE DU PROBO KOALA". LE SCANDALE DU PROBO KOALA. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.[dead link]
- "Ivory Coast Government Panel Releases Toxic Waste Findings". Voice of America. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Papers prove Trafigura ship dumped toxic waste in Ivory Coast. David Leigh and Afua Hirsch. The Guardian, Thursday 14 May 2009
- "In pictures: Ivorian toxic waste" bbc.co.uk Link 7 September 2006.
- Trafigura to pay $198 mln settlement to Ivory Coast. Reuters. 13 February 2007.
- "Trafigura execs released after Ivory Coast deal". Reuters. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- The Guardian, 17 September 2009, How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster
- "Trafigura found guilty of exporting toxic waste". BBC. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "UK law firm faces payout over missing Trafigura compensation". Mail Online. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- "Vest Tank sweetened coker gasoline". NRK. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- "A small pawn in the game". NRK. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- "Coker gasoline – low quality". NRK. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- "Trafigura refuses to aid fire inquiry". The Independent. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- "Trafigura and Total are barred from fuel tenders". Times of Malta. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Trafigura, TOTSA paid $3.2 billion for fuel oil in 13 years". MaltaToday.com.mt. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- "Dirty Diesel: Return to Sender", campaign of Public Eye, including the report Dirty Diesel - How Swiss Traders Flood Africa with Toxic Fuels (page visited on 25 October 2016). The results of the investigation of Public Eye was relayed by media such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Le monde, Le temps, Al Jazeera, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Le Journal du Mali, the Financial Times and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
- BBC News, "Fuel 'too dirty' for Europe sold to Africa", British Broadcasting Corporation, 15 September 2016 (page visited on 25 October 2016).
- ‹See Tfd›(in French) Sébastien Dubas, "« Dans certains pays d’Afrique, la pollution tue davantage que les principales maladies »", Le temps, 7 November 2016 (page visited on 7 November 2016).
- ‹See Tfd›(in French) Marc Guéniat, "Marée noire sur le négoce de carburants", Public Eye – Le magazine, number 2, November 2016, pages 15-17.
- "De l'air pollué livré à un négociant en carburant". 20 minutes (in French). 7 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Oil trading firm s linked to Brazil's Car Wash corruption scandal 8 Nov 2018 Guardian
- "Trafigura 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Irish Stock Exchange. 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Geoff, Hiscock (14 April 2014). "Global commodity traders get deal fever". The Australian. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Blas, Javier (20 April 2010). "Rare glimpse as Trafigura debuts". The Financial Times. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Teo, Vivian (7 December 2016). "Trafigura's metals trading volume up 13%, but gross profit down in 2016 financial year". Metal Bulletin. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "Commodities trader Trafigura earnings fall, sees challenging conditions". Business Times. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Paraskova, Tsvetana (7 December 2016). "Trafigura's Profit Dips, Oil Trade Volumes Jump". Oilprice.com. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Hoffman, Andy (7 October 2016). "Commodity Trader Trafigura Sells Oil Tankers to Chinese Bank". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "Trafigura hands $885m to Top Executives via buyback". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Sormani, Angela (10 January 2013). "Galena Closes First Tranche of Resource Fund". PE Hub. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Swiss Trafigura now largest exporter of Russian oil amid sanctions regime Unian Information Agency. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- Douglas Hamilton Johnson (16 January 2003). The root causes of Sudan's civil wars. International African Institute in association with James Currey. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-85255-392-3. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "KenolKobil - Cautionary Statement". KenolKobil. 7 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "$800m KenolKobil price tag 'too high for Puma'". The EastAfrican. Nation Media Group. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- Juma, Victor (1 March 2013). "Puma drops bid to acquire KenolKobil". Business Daily Africa. Nation Media Group. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Mawson West Announces Notice of Compulsory Acquisition by Galena Private Equity Resources Fund and Notice of TSX Delisting". Market Wired. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Farchy, Jack; Blas, Javier (14 April 2013). "Trafigura adds Lord Strathclyde to board". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
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- Official website
- Trafigura companies grouped at OpenCorporates
- Trafigura press releases regarding the Côte d'Ivoire waste dumping incident
- NRK Brennpunkt Trafigura and the Minton report
- Leigh, David. "The Trafigura files and how to read them". The Guardian, 16 September 2009. This introduces: Internal Trafigura emails and letters regarding the Côte d'Ivoire waste dumping incident (PDF file, 7.9 MiB). The Guardian.
- Minton Report and related documents, WikiLeaks