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Petrobras scraps Liquigas IPO in favour of reopening sale process
26 April 2018

Brazilian oil group Petrobras has scrapped plans to sell its liquefied petroleum gas unit Liquigas through an initial public offering and decided to reopen a sale process. The state-controlled company had agreed to sell the subsidiary to a unit of Ultrapar Participações in 2016 for $800 million but Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade blocked the deal. Petrobras has not yet set a date for interested companies to deliver bids and is still discussing the best way to avoid problems with antitrust authorities.

Metinvest completes $2,271m debt refinancing
26 April 2018

Ukraine-headquartered steel and mining group Metinvest has refinanced $2,271 million of debt, consisting of the issuance of two tranches of bonds and the amendment and restatement of its pre-export finance facility. The company issued $1,592 million in new bonds and secured $765 million in the PXF facility.

Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium selected for Uganda oil refinery
25 April 2018

The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC) - comprised of YAATRA Ventures, Baker Hughes, a GE company, LionWorks Group, and Saipem - signed a project framework agreement confirming its selection for the realisation of a 60,000 barrels per day capacity refinery with a project estimated value of around $3 billion. The refinery, in Hoima district, will process crude oil from fields developed by Total, Tullow, and China's CNOOC and future upstream operators. The Ugandan government has included in the project scope a refined-product pipeline to Kampala for transporting finished products from the facility as well as the distribution of refined products.

Bruno Nakata to leave Castleton Commodities International
25 April 2018

Bruno Nakata, US commodities trader Castleton Commodities International's Singapore-based executive director of light end products, is to leave. It is unclear what Castleton's plans are for naphtha and other light products, industry sources said. Nakata was formerly head of naphtha in Asia for Trafigura and general manager of Marubeni.

JBIC to offer loans to boost US LNG exports to Asia
25 April 2018

The Japanese government said it will promote the exports of US liquefied natural gas to Asian countries to help slash Washington's trade deficit. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation will offer loans for the construction of LNG shipment hubs. The US has been producing increasing volumes of LNG, while Asia sees rising demand of the gas used for electric power generation.

Trafigura's LNG head Hadi Hallouche takes on new Asian oil role
24 April 2018

Commodities trader Trafigura has appointed Hadi Hallouche, its head of liquefied natural gas, as the company's head of oil in Asia, in addition to overseeing its gas business globally.   Hallouche, who joined Trafigura in 2011 as an LNG trader in Geneva, will transfer to the company's Singapore office. Martin Urdapilleta, the current head of Trafigura's oil division in Asia, has accepted a new role based in Latin America helping manage and co-ordinate the downstream assets of Pampa Energia, which are in the process of being acquired.

Hyosung Vina Chemicals out to syndication with Kexim/KDB deal
24 April 2018

Vietnam based Hyosung Vina Chemicals (a subsidiary of Hyosung) is out to Korean and international lenders for a $1 billion loan. Kexim and Korea ...

US softens stance on Rusal sanctions
24 April 2018

The US has softened its position on sanctions against Russian metals giant UC Rusal, sparking a record plunge in aluminum prices. The US Treasury discussed a path for lifting the sanctions on Rusal, saying it would provide relief if Oleg Deripaska relinquished control. It also extended the deadline for companies to wind down dealings with the aluminum producer by almost five months.   Aluminum plunged in response as traders speculated that supply disruptions could ease. Prices fell as much as 9.4%, the most ever. US producers also dropped, with Alcoa sliding 12%.

Former HSBC banker Philippe Khoury joins ADNOC
24 April 2018

Former HSBC banker Philippe Khoury has joined Abu Dhabi National Oil Company as head of its new trading unit. Khoury was previously vice chairman of global banking for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at HSBC.

Petrobras considers using blockchain for trading, compliance
24 April 2018

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is evaluating the implementation of blockchain technology for trading, the supply chain hiring process and compliance. The company has not set a date to implement the technology but is conducting a study and designing scenarios on how it could be used.

Markel hires Nicholas Davies as trade credit underwriter in Singapore
24 April 2018

Insurer Markel International has appointed Nicholas Davies as trade credit underwriter and senior risk analyst in Singapore. He will focus on developing Markel's portfolio across the region, in addition to managing existing broker and client relationships. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services sector having started his career in banking and asset finance.

HFW secures Court of Appeal enforcement of Chinese arbitral award
23 April 2018

The English Court of Appeal has upheld the enforcement of a significant Chinese arbitration award in a commodities dispute, despite claims that it was "tainted" by fraud. HFW's client, Chinese steel trading company Sinocore International, had agreed to sell $1.2 million of rolled steel coils to RBRG Trading (UK) Ltd in 2010. But the deal broke down after it emerged that Sinocore had forged the bills of lading. Sinocore changed the shipment dates on the bills in order to comply with amendments RBRG had made to the letter of credit without Sinocore's consent. Sinocore and RBRG both initiated damages claims for breach of contract in CIETAC arbitration proceedings. The CIETAC tribunal found for Sinocore and ordered RBRG to pay damages of $4,857,500, plus costs. Sinocore then applied to the English High Court to enforce the award, with RBRG challenging its enforceability, arguing that it would be contrary to public policy for the court to enforce an award that was "tainted" by fraud. The High Court dismissed RBRG's challenge, recognising that the CIETAC tribunal had already considered - and rejected - this argument. That ruling has now been unanimously upheld by the Court of Appeal in a judgment handed down on Monday.

HSBC rules out financing controversial Keystone XL pipeline
23 April 2018

HSBC has announced it will no longer provide project finance for new tar sands projects, including the construction of any tar sands pipelines. This policy would exclude HSBC from providing project financing for the Keystone XL and Line 3 Expansion pipelines - which are key to the expansion of the tar sands fields in Alberta, Canada.   HSBC also stated that its overall exposure to tar sands will reduce over time. The move is the most recent in a series of decisions by international financiers to distance themselves from the pipelines in North America. French banks BNP Paribas and Natixis, and insurance and investment giant Axa, as well as Dutch bank ING, and Sweden's largest pension fund, AP7, all made similar announcements in 2017.

Noble rejects Goldilocks' nomination of 5 directors
23 April 2018

Hong Kong-headquartered Noble Group has rejected substantial shareholder Goldilocks' attempt to nominate five non-executive directors at its upcoming annual general meeting on April 30 on the basis that Abu Dhabi-based investment fund Goldilocks is not a member of the company because it holds its shares through a depository agent. Goldilocks last week lodged a notice proposing that Ajit Vijay Joshi, Bachir Nawar, Khoo Song Koon, Chow Wai San, and Lim Yu Neng Paul be put up for election as non-executive directors of Noble. Goldilocks responded to the rejection by saying that Noble has "threatened its standing as a shareholder" of the group, and that Noble's reasoning damages the standing of all shareholders.

Petrobras gets three bids for gas pipeline network
23 April 2018

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is believed to have received three binding bids for its gas pipeline network company TAG. The bids were from groups led by Australia's Macquarie Group, United Arab Emirates' sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development, and French power company Engie. Petrobras is selling 90% of its stake in TAG.

Lukoil seals $660m Ksure-backed loan
20 April 2018

Moscow-headquartered Lukoil has raised a $660 million loan with a ten-year maturity to finance part of the construction costs for gas processing plant at the Kandym field in Uzbekistan. The loan was provided by ING Bank, UniCredit Bank and Deutsche Bank. Insurance is provided by the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (Ksure).

Banks look to get rid of exposure to Rusal as US deadline looms
20 April 2018

Lenders to Rusal are exploring how to get rid of their exposure to the Russian aluminum company before a May deadline set by the US, as the fallout from fresh sanctions pulls Russian loan pricing lower in Europe's secondary market. The US Treasury has given banks until May 7 to divest or transfer debt, equity, or other holdings in Rusal, energy firm EN+, and vehicle maker GAZ. Banks' main exposure is to Rusal, as EN+ and GAZ do not have any international syndicated loans. Rusal raised a $1.7 billion five-year pre-export finance term loan which was signed last May and pays 300bp over three-month Libor.

Rockhopper nearer to UKEF deal
19 April 2018

UK-based oil and gas independent Rockhopper Exploration, with financial advisory from Portland Advisers, is near to mandating a lead arrange...

Petrobras nears deal with CNPC to swap refinery investment for oil
19 April 2018

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is nearing a deal in which China National Petroleum Corporation would invest in an oil refinery in exchange for crude oil - potentially giving China its first refining capacity in the Americas. Petrobras may give the state-owned Chinese firm stakes in oil fields it operates in the Campos basin, off the Rio de Janeiro coast, along with the right to use the new Comperj refinery, sources said.

Nemaska secures $150m streaming deal for Whabouchi lithium project
19 April 2018

Nemaska has come to an arrangement with Orion Mine Finance Group for an equivalent of 8.7% net portion of the stream product sales from the proposed Shawinigan electrochemical plant in exchange for $150 million. An estimated C$775-825 million of pre-production capital is required to develop both the plant and Whabouchi lithium mine that are located near Chibougamau, in the Canadian province of Quebec. Nemaska has already agreed a C$99 million private placement with SoftBank for a 9.9% share of the project.

Noble amends restructuring plan in race for shareholder support
19 April 2018

Embattled Hong Kong-headquartered trader Noble Group is removing a provision in its $3.4 billion debt restructuring proposal that penalised shareholders voting against the plan. The debt-for-equity swap is crucial for the survival of the Singapore-listed company, which has sold billions of dollars of assets, taken hefty writedowns and cut hundreds of jobs over the past three years to slash debt. The Singapore Exchange regulatory unit criticised Noble’s proposal and said shareholders should be able to vote freely and their vote should not have a bearing on whether they are entitled to shares in the restructured company.

Rio Tinto flags changes to 2018 aluminum output after US sanctions
18 April 2018

Australian-British miner Rio Tinto flagged possible changes to its 2018 aluminum output following US sanctions on its Russian partner Rusal earlier this month. The miner could still be a big beneficiary of the sanctions as it is a major supplier of aluminum to the US from its Canadian smelters, while aluminum prices have surged by more than 20% since the sanctions were announced. Rio said its 2018 aluminum output forecast of 3.5 to 3.7 million tonnes would also face adjustments following the sale of its Icelandic and French aluminum smelters.

Glencore, China Petroleum among groups shortlisted for Zambia refinery stake
18 April 2018

Zambia has shortlisted five groups - Glencore Energy, China Petroleum Technology & Development, Russia's JSC Global Security, Sahara Energy Resources, and a joint-bid from Beijing Huiersanji Green Chem-Tech and Avic International Holding Corpas - as possible candidates for a majority stake in the country's sole oil refinery. The groups will now be asked to submit their technical and financial proposals. Zambia is seeking to increase production at its Indeni Petroleum Refinery to help meet domestic demand for gasoline and diesel, currently estimated at 1.7 billion litres a year.

Gunvor agrees to disclose payments to governments
18 April 2018

Geneva-headquartered oil trader Gunvor Group is to join rival Trafigura in disclosing some of the billions of dollars it pays to governments and national oil companies each year by joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Gunvor's move may ramp up pressure on fellow traders, including Glencore, Vitol, and Mercuria Energy Group to follow suit.

Freedium unveils first commodities-backed digital stable currency
18 April 2018

Freedium, a company establishing a presence at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), has launched the first commodities-backed digital stable currency tracking the US dollar. Blockchain-based Freedium will provide financing to commodity owners in emerging markets, particularly in Africa and also in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Range Resources announces $4bn RCF
18 April 2018

Texas-based petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company Range Resources has renewed and extended its revolving credit facility. The new five-year agreement with a syndicate of 27 financial institutions has a maximum facility size of $4 billion and maintains a borrowing base of $3 billion with $2 billion in commitments. The maturity of the facility was extended to April 13, 2023.

S&W nominates Cargill executive Alan Willits board of directors
18 April 2018

California-based global agricultural company S&W Seed Company has announced the nomination of 38-year Cargill executive Alan Willits to its board of directors. Willits, who joined Cargill in 1980, is responsible for several businesses within the group, including Cargill's oil palm plantations, trading and merchandising in the Asia-Pacific region, and Cargill's grains and oilseeds supply chain businesses in North Asia, South Asia and Australia.

Aluminium hits highest since 2011 amid supply concerns, weaker dollar
17 April 2018

Aluminium prices rallied to their highest since 2011 on Monday as the dollar fell and Rio Tinto declared force majeure on some customer contracts after the United States imposed sanctions on its Russian partner Rusal. Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange closed 5% higher at $2,399 per tonne after earlier touching its highest since September 2011 at $2,403. The meta also recorded its biggest one-day jump since November 2011.

Noble seeks to bring founder Richard Elman back to the board
17 April 2018

Richard Elman, the founder of troubled Hong Kong-headquartered commodities trader Noble Group, could be in line for a shock return to the company's board. Noble, which has been scrambling to pull a restructuring deal together since the start of the year, said it would make Elman an executive director once more, after he resigned last month. Paul Brough, chairman, said Elman's support was "uniquely important" and his experience and knowledge would "assist New Noble in the realisation of its potential and, once again, delivering value to all our stakeholders". Noble's new restructuring plan would raise the stake for shareholders to 15pc from 10pc.  

NNPC/SPDC RFP deadline set for end of the month
17 April 2018

Shell Petroleum Development Co (SPDC) and its joint venture partner Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are out to the loan marke...

Olam launches supply chain tool AtSource
17 April 2018

Singapore-headquartered agribusiness Olam International has launched its new sustainable sourcing solution - AtSource. It allows manufacturers to be able to trace the journey of their agricultural raw materials and food ingredients from farm to table. AtSource will also enhance Olam's ability to assess and positively influence the environmental footprint of the 4.7 million farmers in the company's supply chain. AtSource will initially begin with five product supply chains, with more gradually coming on board. These products include: cocoa and cashew from Ivory Coast; coffee from Brazil and Vietnam; as well as onions and garlic from the US.

Gunvor: Huge market interest in BP, Shell blockchain energy trading project
17 April 2018

A project to modernise physical energy post-trade processes using blockchain technology backed by BP, Shell and Statoil has prompted huge market interestm according to Eren Zekioglu, Chief Operations and IT Officer at Gunvor Group. The aim is to help companies move away from traditional paper trading contracts and operations documentation to digital smart contracts in a bid to cut costs, reduce the risk of errors, and make back-end trading operations more reliable and efficient. Gunvor is one of the consortium partners in the project launched last November, which also includes fellow trading houses Koch Supply & Trading and Mercuria and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale. A new London-based company called VAKT is to develop the platform.

Sucden cocoa boss Chambers stops trading after 50 years
17 April 2018

Derek Chambers, the head of cocoa at Sucres et Denrees (Sucden), ended his involvement in front-line trading this month after a career spanning half a century. He's moved into an advisory role and the team he built is now led by Paul Davis, the former cocoa boss at Noble Group, who joined the Paris-based trader in 2016. His exit comes at a challenging time for the market, with fewer and fewer traders serving a cocoa processing and chocolate industry that's consolidating. On top of Chambers, hedge funder Anthony Ward and Olam International's Amit Suri have also stepped back. Chambers, 68, has been key to Sucden's profits in the past six years. As Archer Daniels Midland exited the market entirely, Olam focused on processing and Ward closed his flagship fund due to the rising influence of algorithms, Chambers succeeded trading the traditional way.

Gunvor Singapore out for annual refi
17 April 2018

Gunvor Singapore is out to banks with its annual refinancing - a $800 million revolving credit facility (RCF). The deal, which has a du...

Cocobod’s annual financing RFP deadlines extended
17 April 2018

Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has extended the deadline for responses to its recenntly issued RFP for its annual refinancing from 17 April to 26 Ap...

Victoria Gold closes financing of Eagle Gold project
17 April 2018

Victoria Gold has closed the financing of the Eagle Gold Deposit at its Dublin Gulch gold property in the central Yukon Territory, Canada. Orion will provide a $75 million senior secured credit facility and an additional $100 million subordinated facility with a private placement generating proceeds of C$75 million. Orion has entered an offtake agreement enabling it to purchase 25% of the gold production. Osisko has signed a royalty purchase agreement worth C$98 million and agreed to a C$50 million private placement. Cat Financial is providing a US$50 million equipment financing facility. Financial advisors to Victoria were Auramet International and BMO Capital Markets with legal counsel provided by Bennett Jones LLP and Cassels Brock LLP.

UKEF backs $400m financing to Petrobras
16 April 2018

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has guaranteed a financing of up to $400 million from Credit Agricole to Petrobras. The 11-year facility, which expires in 2029, will be used to buy goods and services from UK suppliers.

IMF resumes lending to Chad following Glencore debt deal
16 April 2018

The International Monetary Fund is resuming loan disbursements to Chad after the Central African oil producer reached an agreement in principal to restructure its more-than $1 billion debt to trader Glencore and four banks.

Noble: More than 75% of credit holders OK restructuring
13 April 2018

Hong Kong-headquartered commodity trader Noble Group said that more than 75% of creditors holding the majority of its senior debt have accepted its $3.4 billion restructuring plan. The company had said earlier that it would have to begin insolvency proceedings if the debt restructuring was not approved.

Gunvor Stargate bids due next week
13 April 2018

Gunvor will be closing the initial bidding on its 1.5m cubic metres storage capacity Stargate Oil Terminal in Rotterdam on 20 April. Stargate was a...

AfDB signs soft commodity financing with Export Trading Group
13 April 2018

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a loan agreement for a soft commodity finance facility with the Export Trading Group (ETC). The facility is structured as two successive $100 million loans, each with a tenor of up to two years. The loans will be used to finance the procurement of agricultural commodities from over 600,000 farmers.

BP and Petrobras form strategic alliance
13 April 2018

BP and Brazilian oil group Petrobras have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore areas of cooperation in areas of upstream, downstream, trading and across low carbon initiatives, inside and outside Brazil. The alliance is also expected to include the transfer of technology, as well as joint training and research.

Rio Tinto reviews Rusal ties but keeps quiet on Queensland venture
12 April 2018

Australian-British mining group Rio Tinto is reviewing its dealings with Russian aluminum producer UC Rusal to ensure compliance with US sanctions but the group it was too soon to discuss the future of its Australian venture with Rusal. Rusal owns 20% of Rio's Queensland Alumina, a refinery operation with annual capacity of 3.95 million tonnes of alumina. Rio owns the remaining 80%. Rio Tinto, a major supplier of aluminum to the US from its smelters in Canada, will be among the biggest winners from US sanctions on Rusal as the penalties further shake up the global metals trade and boost costs for US consumers.

Alvean Sugar seals increased $450m RCF
12 April 2018

Alvean Sugar, a 50-50 joint venture between US agribusiness Cargill and Brazilian sugar exporter Copersucar, has refinanced its previous 364-day syndicated revolving credit facility totalling $400 million. Lead arranged by BNP Paribas, Rabobank, Credit Agricole and Natixis, the deal attracted participations from 22 further banks in syndication. The new RCF was initially launched at $350 million but closed oversubscribed, allowing the company to upsize it to $450 million. Proceeds will be used for working capital.

Peabody cuts interest rate and extends maturity of term loan
12 April 2018

Missouri-headquartered global pure-play coal company Peabody Energy has cut the interest rate and extended the maturity of its senior secured term loan. The loan will now bear interest at a rate of Libor + 2.75 percent, reflecting a reduction of 75 basis points. The amendment also provides for the extension of the maturity of the term loan by three years to 2025. Upon closing, Peabody plans to repay approximately $46 million of its term loan, which would bring the total outstanding term loan balance to $400 million and Peabody's consolidated debt balance to approximately $1.4 billion. The company's stated long-term gross debt target is $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion.

Galantas announces two loan deals for Omagh mine
12 April 2018

Toronoto-headquartered Galantas Gold Corporation has announced that its operating subsidy Flintridge Resources has signed a concentrate pre-payment loan of $1.6 million with trading services group Ocean Partners UK, and an increased on-demand loan facility of £600,000 with G&F Phelps. The deals will be used to further development of the Omagh mine in Northern Ireland and for working capital. The interest margin for the Ocean loan facility is USD 12 month Libor + 8.75%. The G&F Phelps loan facility has increased to a maximum of £2,154,118 and the interest charged has risen to 6.75% + USD 12 month Libor.

JBIC and Vale agree MoU to boost cooperation
12 April 2018

JBIC has signed a memorandum of understanding to boost cooperation with Brazilian metals and mining group Vale. Japanese companies are expected to expand and diversify opportunities to collaborate with Vale in the areas of mineral resources-related infrastructure development and rail freight transportation.

Rusal warns of default due to new US sanctions
11 April 2018

Rusal has warned that new US sanctions imposed on it and its owner Oleg Deripaska "may result in technical defaults in relation to certain credit obligations". The news sent Rusal stock tumbling by about 50% in Hong Kong and 20% in Moscow, causing the Moscow Exchange to place the company in special trading mode. Rusal added that under "initial assessment... it is highly likely that the impact may be materially adverse to the business and prospects of the group".

TXF Amsterdam 2018 event: Get your early bird tickets this week
11 April 2018

This is the final week you can register at the early bird price for the TXF Amsterdam 2018: Natural Resources and Commodity Finance event, taking place on May 17 & 18 in Amsterdam. To join 400+ industry experts, sign up today and secure your €300 discount before they are all gone. Click read more to get your ticket.

Commodity traders stop buying from UC Rusal after sanctions
10 April 2018

International trading houses have stopped buying aluminum from Moscow-headquartered UC Rusal as US sanctions on the company sent shockwaves through the market for the metal used in everything from airplanes to beer cans. Trading houses have been advised by their banks and lawyers that they cannot continue trading with UC Rusal, according to executives at five companies that regularly buy from Rusal, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions. Rusal, the biggest aluminum supplier outside China, has also asked them to "immediately withhold all payments" to the company. Rusal and seven other firms linked to Oleg Deripaska were the most prominent targets in a list of 12 Russian companies the US hit with sanctions last week.