BP Singapore Oil Analyst Serio Said to Leave for Noble

BP Plc’s head oil analyst for Asia, Giovanni Serio, plans to join Noble Group Ltd. in Singapore, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

Serio, 39, resigned at the end of last year and is scheduled to start at Noble in April, they said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Serio will lead the global commodities research team at Noble, two of the people said. He previously worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Mark Salt, a spokesman for BP in London, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by phone on Jan. 17. An official at Noble in Hong Kong said in a Jan. 18 e-mail that the company doesn’t comment on personnel matters. Noble is Asia’s biggest publicly listed commodity trader.

Serio, an Italian, was head of market analysis in Asia for BP’s integrated supply and trading division based in Singapore. He joined BP in London in a similar role after leaving Goldman Sachs in 2009.

BP fuel oil trader Koh Leong Teck left the company’s Singapore team this month, according to five people with knowledge of his departure. The company hired Steven Taylor from Macquarie Group Ltd. to head Asia crude trading in Singapore, two people with knowledge of the appointment said in September.

Noble approached banks this month to arrange $2 billion in loans to refinance debt, according to four people familiar with matter. The Hong Kong-based company reported in November a third-quarter profit of $75.2 million, missing the $154.6 million mean estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, as revenue from its agricultural business fell.

Cutting Costs

Noble’s stock was raised to buy by Malayan Banking Bhd. last month because the company is poised to benefit the most among coal and iron ore suppliers from an economic recovery in China in 2013, according to analyst James Koh.

BP Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley announced plans in November 2010 to trim the company’s trading operations after oil price volatility dropped. That year, BP cut management to reduce risk and lower costs as it sought to conserve cash to help pay for damages linked to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company reports fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Feb. 5.

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