Armajaro Holdings Ltd.’s CC+ fund, managed by Anthony Ward, returned more than 3 percent in July, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The cocoa and coffee fund gained 3.05 percent, according to the people, who cited preliminary estimates and declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Ward declined to comment, a spokesman for the London-based company said. Cocoa for September delivery in London fell 4.3 percent last month while arabica coffee rose 6.3 percent in New York.
Armajaro, a commodities trader and manager of five hedge funds, was named by the Financial Times last month as the recipient of the cocoa delivered into the NYSE Liffe Exchange’s expired July contract. The 240,100-metric-ton delivery was the biggest since 1996 and equal to almost 7 percent of global output, exchange data show. Armajaro declined to comment.
CC+ made almost 19 percent in June, for a first-half return of about 18 percent, according to a report to investors obtained by Bloomberg News. In that report, Ward anticipated that global cocoa demand would exceed production by 70,000 tons in the 2009- 10 crop year. He cited lower-than-expected Indonesian output and outbreaks of black-pod disease, a fungus that causes cocoa pods to turn black and rot.
“It’s a very good performance,” said Jerome Berset, a fund manager at Capital Management Advisors in Geneva who is not an investor in the CC+ fund. “Armajaro is different from others in the way that they have many people on the ground, and weather stations in producing countries, so they have better access to information than others.”
Liffe’s July contract closed at 2,713 pounds ($4,327) a ton at its July 15 expiry, 12 percent more than the next available contract. The premium signals concern about the availability of near-term supply. Harvests in West Africa, the biggest producing region, don’t start until October. Liffe’s September contract, the next to expire, closed at a 5 percent premium to the exchange’s second contract yesterday.
Stockpiles in warehouses monitored by Liffe stood at 246,801 tons of deliverable cocoa and another 51,460 tons classed under other categories on July 12. That increased to 271,490 tons with valid certificates and another 52,160 tons in other categories by July 26.
Operating out of London’s Mayfair neighborhood, Ward co- founded Armajaro with Richard Gower in 1998. The company had revenue of $1.42 billion in the 13 months to September last year, according to a filing with Companies House.
Cocoa and Coffee
Ward, 50, said in an interview last year that he spends most of his time running the CC+ fund. The fund is also managed by Peter Aitken-Quack and Pam Thornton.
Armajaro, an anagram of the names of its founders’ children, supplies cocoa and coffee from offices in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Ecuador, according to its website. It added a sugar unit in 2008 to import and distribute the commodity in Africa and the Middle East. Armajaro also arranges and deals in structured products and owns a South African wine business.
Armajaro’s five funds manage about $1.5 billion, according to the company’s website. The CZAR+ sugar and ethanol fund returned 7 percent last month, according to the three people.
Ward, an alumnus of independent English boarding school Marlborough College, started his career as a dispatch rider before joining Kuala Lumpur-based Sime Darby Bhd., now the world’s biggest listed palm-oil producer.
He also worked for U.S. brokerage E.F. Hutton & Co. and later Phibro, becoming head of cocoa and coffee. He became chairman of the European Cocoa Association in 2008 and held the post until June.