Cobalt Blockchain (COBC) – expected to be the world's first blockchain-based provenance system for cobalt – has signed a letter of intent for a $10 million revolving trade finance facility with United Bank for Africa (UBA). Proceeds will be used for purchasing cobalt concentrates (1% minimum, 3-4% average cobalt) from a mining cooperative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The supply agreement guarantees COBC a supply of cobalt concentrate of 40,000 tonnes per annum.
Gold miner Petropavlovsk has loaned $29.75 million to IRC Ltd to help an IRC subsidiary meet a payment due under an ICBC project loan. Petropavlovsk, which owns 31% of IRC, says the bridge loan will be repaid as soon as refinancing of the ICBC facility is completed.
The $340 million ICBC loan, for which Petropavlovsk is a guarantor, was granted to IRC's unit Kimkano-Sutarsky Mining and Beneficiation Plant LLC. The payment due on June 20 is $35.2 million. Negotiations to refinance the facility are at an advanced stage with a major Russian bank.
Glencore has settled a mining royalties dispute in Democratic Republic of Congo with companies associated with US sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler. Gertler’s Ventora Development Sasu had been seeking $695 million in unpaid and future royalties from Glencore’s subsidiary Mutanda Mining, and $2.28 billion from Glencore subsidiary Kamoto Copper Company (KCC). Ventora accused KCC of breaching an agreement by declining to make royalty payments because Gertler was under US sanctions. Glencore has resolved the situation by agreeing to pay royalties in a currency other than US dollars.
African Development Bank Board has approved a $15 million equity investment in Africa Food Security Fund (AFSF), to support enterprises in agri-business SMEs in Africa. AFSF is a second-generation fund targeting a total capitalization of $100 million. The Fund will invest in potential high-growth SMEs operating in the food and agriculture value chains across sub-Saharan Africa. The fund manager is Zebu Investment Partners.
Anthony Julien has resigned as president and CEO of Meridian Mining and is being replaced by Gilbert Clark as interim president and CEO. Clark has served as a partner with Sentient Equity Partners since 2017. Prior to that he was a director at Sentient Asset Management Canada. He has been involved in private equity investments and appraisals primarily in the mining and energy sectors and is currently a non-executive director of North American Nickel.
US-based precious metals merchant Auramet has raised its first syndicated borrowing base – a $185 million 364-day revolving credit lead arranged by ING Capital with participation from Rabobank, Macquarie, Mizuho, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co and Bank Hapoalim.
The deal includes a $50 million accordion feature and allows for additional bilateral credit of up to $75 million outside of the syndicated borrowing base. ING provides a $25 million bilateral line of credit for transactional borrowings as part of this feature.
Exxon Mobil Corp is pushing deeper into energy trading, building a global cadre of experienced traders and beefing up risk-management systems in a bid to lift profits and boost its share price.
Exxon has long lagged behind rivals BP, Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which have created trading units that occasionally generate more profit than their refining businesses.
But last year Exxon retained John Masek, a former trader at Swiss-based Glencore, the world's second largest buyer and seller of petroleum, to consult on gasoline trading. Earlier this year, it also poached four petrol market specialists from refiner Phillips 66.
This month, Exxon hired former BHP Billiton trader Nelson Lee as an international crude trader. In 2014 Lee orchestrated BHP's first-ever crude exports by maintaining the lightly refined oil met criteria for an exportable product. The deals helped usher in the end of a US prohibition on crude exports more than a year later.
The company has also added crude, products and liquefied natural gas specialists to London and Singapore offices. It recently hired Paul Butcher, a trader who has worked at BP, Glencore and Vitol, to advise on North Sea markets and accounting for trading transactions.
The Indian government has been making consistent progress in opening up formal credit lines to Indian farmers - total lending of 5.11 lakh crores in 2011-12 jumped to 8.45 lakh crores in 2014-15. But with many borrowers struggling to meet repayments, national and state governments are having to give waivers again for agricultural loans.
CITIC Metal is acquiring 19.9% of Ivanhoe Mines for C$723 million ($556 million). Ivanhoe is issuing 196,602,037 common shares to CITIC through a private placement at a price of C$3.68 per share. Ivanhoe will use the proceeds to advance its projects in Southern Africa – Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef and Kipushi – and also for working capital and general corporate purposes.
China’s Zijin Mining Group, which acquired a 9.9% stake in Ivanhoe Mines in 2015 through a wholly-owned subsidiary, will be entitled to exercise its existing anti-dilution rights through a concurrent private placement, which could result in additional proceeds of $60 million if exercised in full. (In addition, Zijin and Ivanhoe each are equal 39.6% joint-venture partners in the ongoing development of Ivanhoe’s flagship Kamoa-Kakula copper project.)
Vale has signed separate streaming agreements with Wheaton Precious Metals Corp and Cobalt 27 Capital to fund its Voisey Bay underground nickel mine expansion project (VBME) in Canada.
Vale will receive an initial cash payment of $690 million - $390 million from Wheaton and $300 million from Cobalt 27. Cobalt 27 and Wheaton will make additional payments of 18% of the cobalt Metal Bulletin price for each pound of finished cobalt until the upfront payment has been fully depleted, after which the additional payments will increase to 22% of the cobalt reference market price. The additional payments will amount to approximately 20%, on average, of the cobalt Metal Bulletin price for each pound of finished cobalt delivered to Cobalt 27 and Wheaton under the agreements.
Consequently, from 1 January 2021 onwards, Wheaton will be entitled to receive finished cobalt equivalent to 42.4% of the future cobalt production from Voisey’s Bay and Cobalt 27 will be entitled to receive finished cobalt equivalent to 32.6% of the future cobalt production from Voisey’s Bay. The streamed percentages will be halved after the delivery of approximately 54.8 million pounds of cumulative cobalt to Cobalt 27 and Wheaton. Vale has granted a completion guarantee in relation to the VBME project, to be measured by the throughput rate from the underground mine in 2025.
Congolese state-owned Gecamines is to drop legal proceedings to dissolve Kamoto Copper, a copper and cobalt joint venture with Katanga Mining, after reaching a settlement with Katanga’s parent Glencore.
The deal involves converting $5.6 billion of Kamoto’s debt to equity, thus reducing its debt burden from $9 billion-plus to $3.45 billion, and a cut in the interest rate on intercompany loans.
In addition, Katanga has also agreed to make a one-off payment to Gecamines of $150 million relating to historical commercial disputes, and $41 million to cover expenses incurred as part of an exploration programme. Gecamines will also be freed of an obligation to repay $57 million of contractor costs and to replace or provide financial compensation for mineral reserves valued at $285 million.
KazakhExport has agreed to provide 90% cover for Agricultural Credit Corporation (ACC) working capital loans to Kazakh farmers. In addition, ACC will be significantly cutting due diligence times on future lending decisions.
ING Wholesale Banking has appointed Lynn Ng as global head of commodities and food and agriculture within its industry lending business. In this newly created role, Lynn will be responsible for trade and commodity finance, structured commodities finance, metals and mining and the food and agribusiness. She joined ING in 2007.
Australia-based company advisory agency EverBlu Capital has hired Jarryd Rubinstein from Noble Group. Rubinstein spent 11 years at Noble, where he was primarily based in Hong Kong, Dubai, Nigeria, and South Africa, and headed up world origination.
He joins EverBlu as a director within the company finance group and can lead assets protection, in addition to running the commodity buying and selling desk.
Vancouver-headquartered Nautilus Minerals has entered into a loan agreement with Deep Sea Mining Finance for a secured structured credit facility of up to $34 million. The company, and its wholly-owned subsidiaries Nautilus Minerals Niugini and Nautilus Minerals Pacific Pty, entered into the loan agreement to continue the advancement of the Solwara 1 Project, in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea, while it seeks the remaining project financing of up to $350 million.
Malaysia-headquartered MISC has revealed that its ten-year long-term charter contract with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras - signed in May - was worth $645 million.
MISC's tanker unit AET Tanker Holdings was awarded the contract to own and operate four specialist DP2 Suezmax shuttle tankers for Petrobras for operations in international and Brazilian waters. The firm charter will commence in 2020.
Harmony Gold has raised ZAR1.05 billion ($82 million) via a share placement. JP Morgan Securities and UBS were joint global co-ordinators and and were joined by Nedbank and Absa as joint bookrunners. The net proceeds will be used to pay down part of the outstanding $150 million bridge loan raised for the acquisition of Moab Khotsong from AngloGold Ashanti, which concluded end of February for a total consideration of ZAR3.5 billion.
The Moab transaction includes the Great Noligwa mine, which has been incorporated into the Moab Khotsong mining complex, as well as tailings dumps containing nearly 900,000oz of gold and 22-million pounds of uranium that Harmony could retreat. As part of the purchase, Harmony has also acquired the Nufcor uranium processing plant near Randfontein.
Agribusiness Wilmar International has signed a second loan that links interest rates to its sustainability performance, this time with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC). The margin on the $200 million revolving credit will be pegged to sustainability targets that will be monitored annually by Sustainalytics.
Wilmar raised its first sustainability-linked loan from ING in November last year. In March 2018, commodities trader Olam also debuted in the market with a $500 million three-year sustainability-linked facility.
Corbion has completed the acquisition from Bunge of a 49.9% stake in their SB Renewable Oils joint venture – an aquaculture and animal feed operation in Brazil. Corbion now is 100% owner of the plant in Orindiuva and has assumed Bunge's share in the external debt of the joint venture, including accrued interest ($15 million) and has repaid Bunge's working capital loan ($8 million). Additionally, a five-year earn-out provision starting in 2021 has been agreed.
As the SB Renewable Oils plant is located adjacent to one of Bunge's sugar mills, long term supply agreements have been secured regarding sugar and utilities. Approval by the relevant regulatory bodies in Brazil has been obtained.
Glencore is facing a third legal challenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Charles Brown has resurrected a legal claim that Glencore considered dead, launching a billion-dollar bid for compensation for a 19% stake he previously held in Mutanda Mining – the world’s biggest cobalt miner.
The move comes at the same time as Glencore faces down the government over a new mining code that hiked taxes. And it raises further questions about Glencore’s ability to hold onto its Congolese assets given state-owned miner Gecamines is bidding to dissolve their Kamoto Copper joint-venture and former partner Dan Gertler is suing for billions of dollars over unpaid royalties.
Fuel retailer Phoenix Petroleum has agreed to partner with a subsidiary of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to explore building a receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Philippines. The country is seeking investors to build a storage and distribution facility for imported LNG as it moves to replace its Malampaya gas reserves, expected to be depleted by 2024.
A federal court judge in Brazil has handed down an injunction temporarily blocking the sale of pipeline operator Transportadora Associada de Gas (TAG), according to its owner, state-led oil company Petrobras.
The latest injunction came as a surprise after Petrobras retooled its $21 billion divestment program for 2017-2018 under the auspices of Brazil's Federal Audit Court in March 2017.
The sale of TAG was expected to top the $5.19 billion raised by Petrobras' sale of another pipeline network, Nova Transportadora do Sudeste to a group led by Brookfield Asset Management.
Sources say Schlumberger NV and Halliburton Co are preparing offers for an onshore production sharing deal with Brazil's state-controlled Petrobras - a first for oil services firms in the Latin American country.
General Electric Co's unit Baker Hughes is also studying a potential bid for the tender, launched by Petrobras in May, another source said.
A deal would represent a novel way for the debt-laden oil company to boost output from mature fields without losing control or risking capital, by partnering with one of the world's largest oil service providers.
Such a deal would also allow oil services companies to put to use expensive equipment idled for years during the downturn in Brazil's oil industry, hammered by low oil prices and a massive corruption scandal at Petrobras.
Pretoria-headquartered Public Investment Corporation (PIC) could emerge as a 50% partner alongside Glencore in a joint bid for Chevron SA's $900 million worth of assets, which include a refinery and a network of 800 Caltex service stations in two countries.
While a bid by Chinese energy giant Sinopec for Chevron SA has already been approved by the competition authorities, Glencore and the PIC are to exercise a preemptive right held by Chevron's empowerment partner, Off the Shelf, headed by Mashudu Ramano.
The refinery is a 100,000-barrel-a-day plant in Cape Town and the petrol stations are located in South Africa and Botswana.
Puma Energy has released its results for the first quarter of 2018, revealing that gross profit decreased by 3% to $397 million from $407 million in Q1 2017. EBITDA was $164 million, an 11% year-on-year drop from $185 million. Operating cash flows increased to $80 million from $18 million in the same quarter last year.
Aluminum producer China Hongqiao Group has signed a financing agreement with Industrial Bank Co worth 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) as it looks to upgrade its manufacturing facilities. Industrial Bank will provide Hongqiao and its affiliates with services including supply-chain financing, debt instruments, industrial funds and asset-backed securitization to help it raise money.
Accuity, which provides financial crime compliance, payments and counterparty know-your-customer solutions, has unveiled its new vessel monitoring capability, Firco Trade Compliance Ship Enforcement Alerts.
Firco Trade Compliance SEA will allow organisations involved in trade finance to track shipping vessels in real-time to ensure they are not in breach of international sanctions. If a vessel should enter a sanctioned zone or port, the organisation will be alerted and able to take action, report suspected breaches of regulation and protect itself from involvement in any wrongdoing.
It integrates global automatic identification system vessel movement content provided by IHS Markit.
Brazilian President Michel Temer has named Ivan Monteiro as the new CEO of the country's oil giant Petrobras following the resignation of Pedro Parente over fuel pricing policies.
Temer was previously Petrobras' CFO and formerly a top executive at state-controlled bank Banco do Brasil. The Petrobras board said it had named Monteiro as interim CEO, with Temer recommending him to take on the job on a longer-term basis. But with elections looming, Monteiro's tenure is likely to end in December when the president leaves office.
Brazil's three-year-old political crisis ebbs and flows. We may be entering the eye of the hurricane again, with October elections setting the table for what is to come regarding state intervention into the market. The economy is going to take a hit.
Besides the CEO of Petrobras Pedro Parente stepping down and the Brazilian currency crash landing and an entire populous in disgust with every single politician, the immediate fallout of a week-long truckers strike will be felt by midsize companies and the biggest lenders, Fitch Ratings says. Santander has also reduced its call for 2018 GDP to 2% from 3.2%.
Pedro Parente, the head of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, has resigned following a nationwide strike by lorry drivers that caused huge disruption. In his resignation letter to President Michel Temer, Parente said the strike challenged the pricing policy he had implemented.
Many of the protesters blamed Parente for rising costs, after the company stopped subsidising fuel prices for its domestic consumers.
Parente said his role "as CEO had stopped being positive" and the government needed to consider "alternatives" to its pricing policy going forward. The strike against diesel prices caused major shortages in the country.
BPL Global has set up a branch office in Geneva via its French subsidiary BPL S.A. Philippine de Villèle joins from UBS to head the office. The branch will focus on developing new relationships with Swiss-based banks, traders, NGOs and other potential clients.
Villèle previously spent two years from 2011 in BPL Global's Paris office, working with commodity traders and key French banking clients on trade, structured, project and export finance. She rejoins from UBS, where she was head of its CPRI team within its Commodity Trade Finance department for five years.
Trafigura has raised a 500 million renminbi-denominated (RMB) bond issued in China's mainland debt market. This second issuance is part of a RMB 2,350 million Panda Bond programme. Bank of China acted as lead bookrunner on this transaction, ICBC as joint lead bookrunner and Standard Chartered Bank as bookrunner.
Lundin Petroleum has successfully re-negotiated improved borrowing terms on its $5 billion reserve-based lending facility. The interest rate margin has been reduced from 315 basis points to 225 basis points based on current borrowings. The improved terms include a revised interest rate margin range of between 200 and 250 basis points dependent upon the level of borrowings as well as a lower commitment fee.
The total commitment within the facility of $5 billion and the maturity date at end of 2022 remain unchanged. The banking syndicate has been reduced from 28 to 27 banks.
A report by Coface on the global metals sector reveals that growing protectionism in the US and Europe, along with retaliatory measures from China, have impacted business confidence and investments - but have not yet hampered economic growth. Mixed trends are expected until the end of 2019, with base metal prices likely to rise, but ferrous metals are set to decrease as the latter continue to struggle with overcapacity.
In the period from December 2017 to December 2019, aluminium is set to grow by a mere 2%. Copper should follow the same trend, growing by 2.4%, while nickel and zinc are expected to increase by 18% and 14% respectively. In contrast, steel prices will probably fall by 19% over the same period.
Galaxy Resources has entered into a non-binding agreement with POSCO to sell a package of tenements – located to the north of Galaxy’s Sal de Vida lithium project on the northern area of the Salar del Hombre Muerto in Argentina – for $280 million. Proceeds will be used to progress development of the 40-year-mine-life Sal de Vida scheme.
Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras has received $900 million of a $1 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China (Chexim). The group will receive the remaining $100 million by May next year. The loan, part of Petrobras' effort to diversify its sources of finance, was signed two years ago to be used to pay for goods and services already contracted with Chinese firms.
IAMGOLD Peru has gained a surface rights agreement to start field work on Duran Ventures Mansa Musa gold/silver project in southern Peru. Duran and IAMGOLD entered into an option
agreement in December 2017 that allows IAMGOLD to earn up to 75% of the equity in the project in three stages: by completing cumulative cash payments totalling $500,000, delivering a prefeasibility study and by securing project financing.
Lagune Exploitation Afrique in Ivory Coast is in talks with a unit of Sumitomo about a partnership for the development of the 34.5 million metric tons Benene bauxite deposit and the construction of two alumina plants. Total project cost is around $375 million. Sumitomo Africa is being offered a 25% stake in the scheme by Lagune.
Canada-based oil and gas producer Frontera Energy has closed a $100 million revolving letter of credit facility to fund exploration and transportation commitments in Colombia and Peru. Provided by Itau Corpbanca Colombia, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC Mexico, Institucion de Banca Multiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the funds will replace the borrower’s secured letter of credit facility, of which $81.9 million had been used as of 31 March and which matures on 22 June.
The new facility, which matures on 17 May 2020, will allow Frontera to release collateral and reduce its cost of funds. The deal will have an initial term of up to eight months, extendable to two years subject to meeting certain conditions precedent. During the initial term the facility will have substantially the same security, covenants and events of defaults as the secured LC facility and the borrower's senior secured notes due 2021.
Schlumberger has pulled out of the delayed $2 billion Fortuna floating LNG project in Equatorial Guinea. The decision is linked to delays in raising financing for the Fortuna scheme – West Africa’s first deepwater LNG project. Lead project partner Ophir Energy is now in discussions with other potential investors.
Asia Pacific exporters fear turnover will decline due to the increase in US protectionist measures and their potential for triggering a trade war with the region, according to research by Atradius. Forty-five per cent of the exporters surveyed in the region expect their turnover to decline 10% to 20% due to uncertainty over and changes in trade agreements. Suppliers focusing on domestic trade, on the contrary, consider the introduction of international trade barriers to be a business growth opportunity.
Atradius' Payment Practices Barometer for Asia Pacific - May 2018 - available here - also revealed that payment duration increased from 55 days in 2017 to 57 days in 2018. All Asia Pacific countries surveyed, except for China and Singapore, have experienced an increase in payment duration over the past year.
Greece has received five expressions of interest for a majority stake in its biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum. Initial interest was submitted by Alrai Group Holdings, a consortium comprising Carbon Asset Management DWC-LLC and Alshaheen Group, Gupta Family Group Alliance, Glencore Energy UK, and Vitol Holding.
Greece last month launched a tender to sell at least 50.1% of Hellenic in one of the biggest asset sales under Athens' three international bailouts since 2010.
Hellenic is Europe's third biggest oil refiner based on its market value of €2.2 billion. Paneuropean Oil owns 45.5% and the Greek government holds a 35.5% stake.
Trafigura is one of the hidden companies that power the world economy, linking suppliers and consumers of raw materials. If the company is known for anything, it was an incident a dozen years ago involving hazardous waste that landed its boss in an African jail and shredded its reputation. These days, having striven to burnish its image, Trafigura is one of the biggest middlemen in the global commodities supply chain. The trading house has been grinding out annual profits of about $1 billion for the past half-decade.
NR Capital, the Singapore-based alternative commodity trade finance solution provider, is partnering with Bolero International to facilitate investment support to companies in the bulk physical commodity markets around the world.
Bolero's Multi-Bank Trade Finance solution will enable NR Capital to provide small and medium-sized enterprises firms with access to transaction support.
Oil and gas group Earthstone Energy has seen the borrowing base under its senior secured revolving credit facility increased from $185 million to $225 million.
The company has also entered into an amendment to its credit facility, which provides for a 50-basis point decrease in the interest rate on outstanding loans, increased flexibility related to hedging limitations and improved the company's ability to make short-term borrowings via a swingline as a part of the borrowing base.
Fellow independent oil and gas producer, Lonestar Resources, also revealed that lenders agreed to raise its senior secured credit facility by more than 18%, to $190 million from $160 million.
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