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JB's weekly round-up - 7 October 2013

There appears to be plenty of personnel movements in the trade finance sector at the present time – some of these we are able to write about, while others are, shall we say, sensitive at the present time. The good thing about all this is that institutions are hiring – and the signs are that, at least in some sectors, the market is picking up.

Welcome to the weekly round-up of the TXF news service.

There appears to be plenty of personnel movements in the trade finance sector at the present time – some of these we are able to write about, while others are, shall we say, sensitive at the present time. The good thing about all this is that institutions are hiring – and the signs are that, at least in some sectors, the market is picking up.
 
Chchch-changes...

What is harder to determine – on the commodity front – is whether there is more of a movement from the banks to the trading companies or, the other way round. For the time being, it seems pretty evenly split. Two weeks ago we saw Jan-Maarten Mulder move from Trafigura to ABN AMRO. Last week we saw specialist trading company AMCI hire Harris Antoniou as its new CEO, where previously he had been with ABN as global head of the energy, commodities and transportation with the bank in Amsterdam. As part of the new position, Antoniou moves to the racy town of Zug in Switzerland – well maybe not racy, but at least closer to the ski-slopes anyway!
 
Over in Moscow, changes in the finance department at aluminium producer Rusal last week sees Alexandra Bouriko appointed as the new CFO of Rusal replacing Evgeny Kornilov. However, as part of the reorganisation, Oleg Mukhamedshin, director for strategy, business development and financial markets, will handle all communications and activities with the company’s lenders, including commercial banks and debt capital markets.
 
Standout deal

On the commodity finance front, a standout transaction was announced by trading company Trafigura as it arranged a $1.5 billion pre-payment financing for the purchasing of oil and products from Rosneft. The Royal Bank of Scotland acted as coordinating bookrunner and documentation agent for the transaction, while Société Générale CIB (SG CIB) is acting as the facility agent and security agent.
 
Trafigura’s pre-payment agreement with Rosneft follows similar agreements signed by Glencore and Vitol with Rosneft earlier in the year.
 
Also in the commodity sector, last week Russian Copper Company launched a $250 million pre-export financing into general syndication. Natixis, SG CIB and Rosbank are the joint bookrunners on the deal, which is expected to close by year end. The deal provides an attractive five-year tenor to the borrower.
 
Africa calling

The constant need to improve domestic production and capability for African countries is much talked about. And the €18.2 million ($24.7 million) financing arranged by Afreximbank for Senegal-based Groupe Futurs Media (GFM) for the import and installation of packaging equipment is a small, but positive step in the right direction.
 
The funds will allow for increased domestic packaging production in Senegal, reduce the need for expensive imports, provide jobs and hopefully develop as a West African hub for other countries in the region. 
 
WTO Public Forum

Last week also saw the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva hold its annual public forum. While the WTO does sterling work in the field of trade in general, it is not an organisation known for immersing itself in trade finance issues – even at a time when it could, and should, be providing extra support for a financial community faced with increasing regulatory and compliance challenges.
 
So it was with some satisfaction that the proceedings included a panel on trade finance, its place in global trade and detail on supply chain finance and innovations such as the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) from Swift. I moderated the panel, which comprised of: Alexander Malaket, president of Opus Advsiory Services InternationalAndré Casterman, global head of corporate and supply chain markets at SwiftMarkus Wohlgeschaffen, global head of trade finance at UniCredit; Torek Farhadi, senior adviser, access to finance for SMEs at the ITC. For more on Supply Chain Finance and the BPO, we are delighted to announce our first event in this market: Short-term Trade & Supply Chain Finance 2013 taking place in Munich on 25th & 26th, November, 2013.
 
 
And finally…

Back in London, Thursday night was the annual Denton’s trade and commodity finance drinks reception in London, a long-standing affair, usually held in the summer. The event was as well attended as always, and offered a great chance to see who has moved where in the London trade finance merry-go-round. This year, what was notable is that though the faces were familiar, fewer seem to work in the ‘pure’ structured trade finance space – with many experienced financiers having moved to positions in transaction banking and risk management. 

Of course, one of the biggest changes was to Denton’s themselves, with several lawyers from the recently merged Salans on show and the event fronted by partners, Veronika Keroleva from the London office, and Matthew Cox over from Singapore.

That's all for this week. Please feel free to share this with your colleagues and clients - TXF News is subscription free.

Cheers 

Jonathan Bell
Editor-in-chief

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