Commodity Trader Plans Turnaround After Losing $500 Million

(Bloomberg) — After racking up almost half a billion dollars of losses over three years, the head of Engelhart Commodities Trading Partners says a restructuring has put the firm in a position to make money. Following an “awful year” in 2017, ECTP exited physical trading of energy and most metals, plus its cotton-trading business, Chief Executive Officer Huw Jenkins said in an interview. Now the trading house spun off from Brazil’s Banco BTG Pactual SA is set to deliver steady profits, he said. “The continuing business was profitable in 2018 and therefore we believe the whole business will be profitable in 2019,” Jenkins said. Founded in 2013, with ambitious plans to fill the gap left by banks exiting commodities trading, ECTP “over-expanded,” creating a company infrastructure that was too complex, the CEO said. Now, the firm has cut its staff by about 30 percent to 500 and shut offices in South Africa, Kenya and Argentina. “We’ve learnt a lot of lessons,” said Jenkins, a former UBS Group AG executive. “We were a startup four years ago. Now we are reaching a new stage of maturity and stability.” ECTP posted a loss of about $160 million in 2018, with most of… continue reading

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