Trafigura Group racked up a 92 per cent gain in profit in the first half of its financial year, taking advantage of price swings in the petroleum market and a dominant position exporting crude from the United States.
The third-biggest independent oil trader's net income jumped to US$426 million (S$581.5 million) in the six months to March 31, up from US$222 million a year earlier. This is the Singapore-based company's first profit gain for the period since 2015.
A solid performance from Trafigura's crude oil, petrol, wet freight and liquefied natural gas trading desks offset a weaker outing from metals and minerals, where gross profit fell by about a third.
Trafigura joins competitors including Vitol Group and Gunvor Group, as well as energy majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell and the oil trading divisions of some of Wall Street's biggest banks, in posting their best start in years.
The rebound follows a dismal performance in the first half of the 2018 financial year, which prompted Trafigura to implement a "radical restructuring" of its oil trading books.
After four years of chasing volume growth, it reduced storage commitments, exited unprofitable term positions and halted some blending activities.
Funderbeam, a global funding and trading platform for private companies, has raised US$4.5 million (S$6.1 million) in a Series A round, led by UK-based Accelerated Digital Ventures. New investors include GK-Plug and Play Indonesia, and Pandan Ventures. Existing investors taking part include Draper Associates, Draper Venture Partners, IQ Capital and Mistletoe.
Funds raised will aid the company in developing a strong secondary market offering and furthering its expansion into Asia - starting from Singapore. The firm aims to bridge the Europe and Asia markets by raising valuable networks among companies and founders across both continents.
Founder and chief executive officer Kaidi Ruusalepp said the firm's focus is to build a user base and improve the volume of the platform, before introducing new revenue streams.
Funderbeam has 37 portfolio companies on its platform, and has roped in more than 10,000 verified investors across 119 countries. Its portfolio companies include a European start-up that is building a smart-city bench fuelled by solar panels.
Originating from Estonia, Funderbeam is headquartered in Britain and has set up base in Singapore. It has five offices globally, and is looking to increase its staff strength.