Apollo's Tan Chin Hwee to Join Commodity Trader Trafigura

  • Tan was founding partner in Asia for $162 billion hedge fund
  • Move highlights Trafigura's Asia-Pacific growth ambitions

Tan Chin Hwee, the founding partner in Asia for $162 billion hedge fund Apollo Global Management LLC, will join Trafigura Pte Ltd. as the world’s second-largest metals and independent oil trader expands in the region.

Tan, who stepped down from Apollo last month after joining in 2007, will take on a senior position at Trafigura’s Asia-Pacific operations. The appointment was confirmed in an e-mail by Jonathan Pegler, Trafigura’s co-head of crude oil.

The appointment of Tan, a 20-year veteran in asset management and former managing director at Amaranth, underscores Trafigura’s expansion ambitions in Asia as it reorganizes staff and operations. The trading house recently decided to exit its metals warehousing operations in China, while its Impala storage arm terminated a joint venture with a unit of Citic Securities.

As economic growth in China, the world’s largest commodity consumer, has slowed, Trafigura has deepened its relationship with Russian oil producer Rosneft OAO to handle more oil destined for Asia. Argus Media reported this month that Trafigura won a yearlong deal to sell Sokol grade crude produced by Rosneft that is expected to increase the trading firm’s oil flows to China.

Rapid Rise

Pegler is completing a four-year stint for Trafigura in Singapore in order to return to Geneva to become global head of supply and trading for Puma Energy Holdings Pte Ltd., the oil-storage and fuel-retailing company spun out of the trading house. Martin Urdapilleta is now head of oil in Asia for Trafigura, Pegler said by e-mail.

Pegler’s appointment highlights Puma’s rapid rise as it has evolved from a small Central American unit of the trader, formed in 1997, to an oil and petroleum-product storage behemoth with operations ranging from Angola to Zambia and Puerto Rico to Vietnam. After a series of acquisitions, including $800 million of deals in 2013, Puma became Australia’s biggest independent fuel retailer. The company has more than 7,300 employees worldwide and a network of 2,300 retail service stations.

Trafigura, which handles about three million barrels of oil per day, reduced its stake in Puma to about 49 percent from 62 percent in 2013, posting a $1.43 billion one-time gain in its annual financial results. The trading house’s co-founder and executive chairman Claude Dauphin died in September after an 18-month battle with cancer. Jeremy Weir was appointed chief executive officer of Trafigura in March 2014.

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