Commodity Trader Castleton Said to Poach Executive From Mercuria

Castleton Commodities International LLC, the rising trader that last month bought Morgan Stanley’s oil business in a $1 billion-plus deal, poached a top executive from Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. to push its expansion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Castleton hired Shameek Konar as chief investment officer, the same post he held until recently at Mercuria, the people said, asking not to be named as the information isn’t yet public. Konar will start his new role in July in Houston, the people said.

The commodities house, financed by hedge-fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Glenn Dubin among others, is looking for deals in oil, gas and mining to complement its trading operations. The firm has already invested in U.S. oil and gas production. It also owns three power plants in New York and Texas and two coal terminals in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Castleton says on its website that investing in assets allows it to “capitalize on opportunities that are not available in the traded markets.”

Konar joined Mercuria in 2012 and was pivotal in its acquisition of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s physical-commodities business for $800 million last year. Before that, he was co-head of commodities principal investments at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Castleton is among independent trading houses filling the void as banks from JPMorgan and Barclays Plc to Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley withdraw from or scale back physical-commodity operations amid increased regulatory scrutiny.

After the acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s oil business, Castleton ranks as the world’s fourth-biggest independent oil trader by volumes, behind Vitol Group BV, Glencore Plc and Trafigura Beheer BV. Morgan Stanley traded about 2 million barrels of oil and oil products a day in the past five years.

Castleton was called Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy LLC before being bought by Dubin, chairman of Highbridge Capital Management, and investors including billionaire Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corp, and Paul J. Fribourg, chairman of Continental Grain Co.

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