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Trafigura Hires Bankers for Commodity Trade Finance Business

Trafigura Beheer BV, the world’s third-biggest oil trader, said it hired Christoph Gugelmann, Stefano Sabbadini and Philip Jan Kok for its Galena Asset Management unit to expand its commodity trade finance business.

Gugelmann, Sabbadini and Kok, previously with Bank of America Corp., will join as credit portfolio managers at Galena in Geneva which is seeking to double funds under management to $4 billion by the end of 2013, Trafigura said in a statement.

The three people will be responsible for diversifying Trafigura’s funding sources to “liquidity rich but risk averse investors” such as pension funds, insurance companies, corporations and family trusts, according to the statement.

They will also develop new investment vehicles with an initial target to raise $1 billion, to complement Galena’s Commodity Trade Finance fund, which averaged an annual return of 7.9 percent since inception, Trafigura said. The fund started in the third quarter of 2010.

“By participating in the financing of commodity trading operations investors will be able to monetize the value of liquidity in a market that, until recently, has only been open to banks,” Pierre Lorinet, chief financial officer at Trafigura, said in the statement. “Notably this initiative will also provide distribution channels for those banks seeking to deleverage their balance sheets.”

Lending Declines

Bank lending to commodity and mining companies fell 31 percent to $143.9 billion this year from the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup Inc. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. are the top lenders to the industries this year while last year JPMorgan was first, BNP Paribas SA was second and Bank of America third, the data show.

Gugelmann was previously head of the Europe, Middle East and Africa markets solutions group at Bank of America, Trafigura said. Sabbadini was head of EMEA credit and funding structuring and Kok was head of Netherlands sales at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, it said.

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