Danske Commodities to Cut Quarter of Workforce as Profit Drops

Danske Commodities A/S, a closely-held Danish energy trader, will for the first time reduce headcount as its European expansion slowed.

The Aarhus, Denmark-based company will cut staff by as many as 125 to about 350 people as profit before tax slid to 10.6 million euros ($14.2 million) in the first six months of the year, it said today in a statement without providing a comparative number. The company, founded a decade ago, had a pretax profit of 44 million euros in 2013.

Danske Commodities, which trades power, gas and carbon in 33 countries, said in March its expansion was slowing after staff levels exceeded 400 in November 2013. Its power trading rose 30 percent last year, while buying and selling of gas surged 65 percent.

“We thought growth would continue, but this has not happened,” said Henrik Lind, the founder who resumed the role of chief executive officer on July 1 after the departure of Torben Nordal Clausen. “We still see growth but it is slower so we have to adapt the way we work,” he said today by phone.

Nordal Clausen resigned after four years at the helm due to different views on the company’s future, the company said last month.

Lind declined to say how many traders will be made redundant until negotiations with unions have been concluded.

Danske Commodities, which is mainly focused on short-term markets largely determined by intermittent renewable energy, settled 75 percent of trades within 48 hours last year and holds no physical assets.

“Volatility is not changing in these markets,” Lind said. “We are not changing our strategy, we need to change our expectations of growth.”

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