Trafigura said to hire Temasek's Khodor Mattar in expansion push

Trafigura is the world's second-biggest independent oil and metals trader. PHOTO: REUTERS

AMSTERDAM (BLOOMBERG) -Commodities trader Trafigura Group is hiring Temasek International executive Khodor Mattar, as it seeks to team up with the world's biggest private equity firms and sovereign funds for investments, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr Mattar is joining Trafigura in a newly-created position as head of capital development, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. He's currently a managing director for the Americas at Temasek, the Singapore state investment firm.

In his new role, Mr Mattar will develop debt and equity partnerships with top alternative capital providers, the people said. Trafigura aims to team up with these funds for investments that will help it expand across petroleum products, metals and minerals and renewables, the people said.

Mr Mattar plans to move from New York to Geneva in 2021, according to the people. Representatives for Trafigura and Temasek declined to comment.

The move shows the efforts by large commodities traders to find alternative financing methods at a time when conventional lenders are getting more conservative in extending their balance sheets. ABN Amro Bank said in August it would quit the commodity and trade finance business, while BNP Paribas is also reviewing its involvement and may shut down its specialised unit.

Trafigura, the world's second-biggest independent oil and metals trader, has thrived amid the coronavirus pandemic as it benefited from supply and demand disruptions. The company's net income rose 27 per cent to US$542 million (S$730 million) for the six months to March 31, helped by a record performance from its oil-trading division.

Mr Mattar has a background as an energy banker and has spent nearly nine years with Temasek in Singapore and New York. In his most recent role, Mr Mattar worked on Temasek investments in the Americas, with a focus on energy and the environment, industrials and business services, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, Mr Mattar worked at investment bank Rothschild for more than 14 years.

Trafigura set up a joint venture with Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala Investment in 2015 to buy base metals assets. This year, it teamed up with Australian fund manager IFM Investors to form Nala Renewables, which is seeking to invest in 2 gigawatts worth of solar, wind and power storage projects. Trafigura has 80 offices in 41 countries.

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