• Trader closing grain operations in Hamburg, Canadian office
  • Company's move follows pull-back from sugar market in 2014

Vitol Group is restructuring its grains trading after a three-year foray into the market by closing offices and moving traders to its main oil-trading hubs, according to people familiar with the matter.

The world’s biggest independent oil trader is closing its grain operations in Hamburg and has asked staff to move to Geneva, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t been announced. It will also close its office in Vancouver and has asked agriculture traders to move to Houston, one person said.

The company started trading grains and oilseeds in 2013 after hiring traders from Viterra Inc., Canada’s largest grain handler. The pull-back follows Rotterdam-based Vitol’s move in 2014 to scale back its sugar business, where it said last year it would retain the ability to trade some cargoes in the future.

"Vitol will continue to trade agricultural products," Andrea Schlaepfer, a spokeswoman for the trader, said in an e-mailed statement. "The company continuously reviews its business to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources both in terms of scope and location and makes any required adjustments."

At least one of Vitol’s traders in Hamburg has already left, the people said. In Asia, the company has closed its grains desk, Platts reported. Vitol’s traders in Asia were based in Singapore.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE