2022 Full-year results
Assets and Investments
In 2022, closer cooperation brought benefits and synergies to our strategic assets and investments.
To complement our core activities, we seek investment opportunities in assets and entities that can help facilitate the supply, processing and movement of physical commodities around the world.
Our assets and investments include: Puma Energy, a downstream fuel supplier, and Impala Terminals, a commodity warehousing and logistics joint venture with IFM Investors.
A third industrial business was added in 2019 with the consolidation of Nyrstar, an international producer of critical metals and minerals essential for a low carbon future. These assets are structured as independent companies with their own dedicated management teams and resources.
In addition, Trafigura is the majority owner of TFG Marine, a bunkering services provider. We also have an investment in H2 Energy, a leader in green hydrogen for heavy duty transport, and a 50 percent share in the joint venture H2 Energy Europe.
Galena Asset Management is a wholly owned and regulated investment subsidiary of Trafigura.
Alongside these assets, we hold a number of minority investments in industrial assets where we do not have operational control. These include two nickel operations: Terrafame and Prony Resources.
Puma Energy is a downstream energy company operating in 34 markets around the world, supplying and distributing refined oil products, such as fuels, lubricants and bitumen. It operates 1,900 retail sites, owns a number of bitumen terminals and offers refuelling services at over 100 airports.
In September 2021, Puma Energy was fully consolidated into the Trafigura Group. A new management team was appointed and tasked with developing a fresh strategy and strengthening the company’s finances.
In FY2022, Puma Energy focused on turning around the business following the challenges of COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn. It did this by bolstering its balance sheet, streamlining its portfolio of assets and reinvigorating its core downstream operations. It also started to diversify its activities by supplying lower-carbon fuels and offering solar energy solutions to customers.
This consolidation enabled Puma Energy to realise the full benefits of synergies with Trafigura including market expertise and supply chain optimisation.
During the year, Puma Energy updated its approach to environmental, social and governance risks, setting out a new strategy in its 2022 Sustainability Report. This was underpinned by a series of commitments reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting access to energy.
A key element of the strategy is to grow Puma Energy’s portfolio of clean cooking fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas for clean cooking, and introduce renewable power solutions, such as solar, to help industrial and commercial customers achieve their energy and climate change ambitions.
While the divestment of businesses in Angola and Pakistan reduced the overall size of Puma Energy’s retail network, the company is now focused on markets with greater growth potential and on growing the profitability of our retail business by investing in new and upgraded sites.
In September 2022, Puma Energy took a major step forward in its strategy of focusing on its core downstream business when it completed the first phase of the sale of a significant part of its infrastructure business to the Impala Terminals joint venture between Trafigura and IFM Investors.
These initiatives are already starting to produce improved results, driven by a combination of stronger business performance, a reduction in operating costs and a recovery in demand. As part of the turnaround, Puma Energy incurred impairments during the year against the value of various assets within its portfolio.
Puma Energy also strengthened its balance sheet, with its ratio of net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation below 1.5 at the end of September. After the sale proceeds from the infrastructure sale were accounted for in October, the company had a gross debt net of cash of USD856 million, reduced from USD1,708 million on a pro-forma basis.
In 2022, Puma Energy secured a USD700 million revolving credit facility, the most it has raised in three years. This demonstrates the new confidence lenders have in the company.
Looking ahead to 2023, Puma Energy will focus on strengthening its position in key markets. The company remains cautiously optimistic as it continues to navigate the market volatility which characterised 2022.
Trafigura’s Mining team manages a portfolio of assets and works closely with the company’s metals and minerals trading business and its mergers and acquisitions team. Our operations include wholly owned subsidiaries and stakes in privately held entities.
The Mining team's key objectives for the year were to improve safety, consolidate management teams and stabilise production.
Regrettably, two fatalities were recorded at our operations during the financial year: one internal and one external. Safety improvement plans are in place at each site and we are determined to eliminate fatalities across our business.
For many of our assets FY2022 proved to be a demanding year, with challenges including rising costs and volatile commodity prices.
Electricity and diesel prices increased as did the cost of processing reagents. In addition, the war in Ukraine led to a significant rise in the price of ammonium nitrate, the main component of explosives used at our mines.
At the same time, metals prices fell sharply in the second half of the financial year, dragged down by the strong US dollar, concerns about slowing global growth and weak demand in China.
Production volumes were satisfactory at Catalina Huanca, a zinc and lead mine in Peru, and at Castellanos, our zinc and lead joint venture in Cuba.
However, output fell short of expectations at Myra Falls, our zinc and lead mine in British Colombia, Canada, where a new management team has now started work.
At Kapulo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, production was affected following a geotechnical event.
The highlight of the year was in Brazil, where we started building a new processing plant at our MMI iron ore project. Once construction is complete next year, the new facility will produce a high-quality product that can be used to make pellet feed for steelmakers.
The primary focus for the Mining team in the year ahead will be completing construction works in Brazil. We are also considering reconfiguring our supply chain so that we can source raw materials close to our mines which would improve competitiveness and reduce our carbon footprint.
Nyrstar is an international producer of critical metals and minerals essential for a low carbon future. With a market leading position in zinc and lead, Nyrstar has mining, smelting and other operations located in Europe, the US and Australia and employs close to 4,000 people.
Since the acquisition by Trafigura Group in 2019 and the subsequent completion of its financial restructuring, Nyrstar has been in turnaround mode. Significant investments to modernise and improve the company's assets and operations continued over the past 12 months despite tough market conditions.
During FY2022, Nyrstar’s sites in Europe were impacted by a range of factors, including elevated energy prices. This resulted in periods of care and maintenance for some and/or reduced production at all of the sites. The operation level of these sites in the short to medium term will be dependent upon market conditions, which remain extremely challenging.
In mining, production volumes at Middle Tennessee, a US zinc mining complex owned by Nyrstar, were satisfactory. At the East Tennessee site these were lower than expected. Management teams at both mines have now been consolidated and we expect an improved performance over the next financial year.
In Australia, Nyrstar faced a further year of operational challenges, which had a significant impact on the company's overall performance. A USD177.1 million impairment charge was recognised against the value of its Australian assets. Shortly after the end of the financial year, the Port Pirie site in South Australia was closed for a planned major maintenance intended to improve the performance of the plant and reduce emissions.
In spite of these challenges, Nyrstar continued to improve the sustainability of its operations. Highlights from FY2022 included the commissioning of an innovative wind park at the Balen site and, in collaboration with Nala Renewables, the construction of the largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Belgium at the same location. At Budel in the Netherlands, Nyrstar has applied for permission to increase the capacity of its solar park to 96 megawatt peak (MWp) from 44 MWp.
In addition, Nyrstar became the first company in Australia to receive accreditation to recycle and export raw materials from alkaline batteries. Household batteries from across Australia can now be processed at Port Pirie and become commodities such as copper or zinc or go into green cement.
In the US, Nyrstar is studying the potential to build a state-of-the-art germanium and gallium recovery and processing facility at its primary zinc smelter in Clarksville, Tennessee. The company is engaging with federal and state government to secure support for the project, which would enable these critical minerals to be produced domestically in the US, boosting security of supply.
These activities underpin Nyrstar’s role as a responsible and reliable producer of strategic and critical minerals and metals to further advance the energy transition.
Looking ahead to 2023, Nyrstar will seek to stabilise production across its operations. Challenges are however expected to remain significant, in particular in the form of ongoing very high energy prices and general cost inflationary impacts.
Impala Terminals is a 50:50 joint venture between Trafigura and Australian pension fund management group IFM Investors.
Impala Terminals has two pillars of activity: owner and operator of key infrastructure in 14 countries and asset manager of third party assets in 7 countries.
In the former, Impala Terminals designs, develops and operates key infrastructure and logistics assets across multiple modes of transport. This includes the safe, reliable handling of dry and liquid cargoes to and from inland sites of production and consumption, through deep sea ports. In total, the joint venture has 27 operations trading under the Impala Terminals brand across 14 countries.
In the latter, the joint venture also manages a number of Trafigura-owned port logistics, storage and transportation assets. In this way, it plays a key supporting role in Trafigura’s activities and third-party trade flows in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The highlight of the 2022 financial year was the acquisition of 19 energy infrastructure and storage assets in 10 countries from Puma Energy.
The deal gives Impala Terminals’ business a new dimension, adding oil and petroleum products, and builds on the Group’s existing growth and diversification strategy.
After the financial year ended, Impala Terminals strengthened its management to help manage the expanded business and oversee the integration process. Kevin Nichols, the former CEO of Shell Midstream Partners, joined as Executive Chairman, while Sjoerd Bazen, the former Head of Vopak in Singapore, was appointed Head of the new energy infrastructure division. Nicolas Konialidis will continue to run the dry bulk and logistics division.
All Impala Terminals operations performed at or above expectations in FY2022. Volumes increased year-on-year as the existing operations of Impala Terminals continued to diversify their product and services offering. This now includes a new empty container yard in Mexico that provides its customers with a prime location to store, maintain and repair their containers close to the highly congested port of Manzanillo, saving time and transportation costs.
Impala Terminals non joint venture assets
In Colombia, Impala Terminals operates an inland port at Barrancabermeja and a barging operation from two ports on the Atlantic Ocean. Impala Terminals handled a number of new commodities during the year at the Barrancabermeja port terminal, including cocoa, coffee and non-ferrous concentrates. Impala Terminals is working closely with state-owned oil company Ecopetrol on its plans to expand a 250,000-barrel per day refinery, which will eventually be connected to Impala Terminals’ terminal at Barrancabermeja via pipeline. This will provide Ecopetrol with greater flexibility to import and export products and feedstocks by barge instead of truck.
In Bolivia and Chile, Impala Terminals delivered a robust performance with its assets handling increased volumes of copper, lead and zinc concentrates, benefiting from strong demand and increased mining production. In both locations the group looks to expand its offering and services.
At the Impala Burnside Terminal, in the US state of Louisiana, the focus was also on diversification, including a deal to sell a portion of land at this site to a major gas and chemicals group, which is weighing up plans to build a plant producing low-carbon ammonia. This initiative shows how Burnside, which is better known for its handling of coal, can also play a role in the shift to cleaner fuels.
Impala Terminals’ assets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia had another good year, growing their services and cargo-handling volumes in particular for imports destined for the mines around the terminals. There was strong demand for imported chemicals, mining reagents and project cargoes for use in the Copperbelt. Impala Terminals’ freight-forwarding business, which oversees the movement of goods on behalf of importers and exporters, grew meaningfully by increasing its third-party volumes. For the year ahead, the main focus will be on the integration of the energy infrastructure assets and a further diversification and expansion of products and services to help offset the impact of rising costs and broader inflationary pressures.
Founded in 2020, TFG Marine is a bunker fuel supply and procurement joint venture between Trafigura and two of the world’s largest shipowners, Frontline and Golden Ocean.
The partnership brings together three companies that are market leaders in their respective fields, each with complementary strengths.
The combined demand from Trafigura Marine Logistics, Frontline and Golden Ocean, which collectively boast a fleet of more than 700 owned and chartered vehicles, has laid the foundation for TFG Marine to become a top-three supplier of bunker fuel in just two years. We are now operational in 35 key hubs along the world’s major shipping routes.
Benefitting from Trafigura’s financial backing and risk management expertise, TFG Marine was able to successfully navigate highly volatile market conditions in 2022 and meet the needs of its growing customer base as many of its rivals struggled in a market defined by unprecedented volatility. As a result, the joint venture recorded stronger-than-expected profit over the financial year to September.
Decarbonisation and digitisation will be two key areas of focus for the business going forward. TFG Marine will continue to promote the need for mass flow meters, a digital technology that accurately measures marine fuel deliveries, to shift the industry away from outdated operational practices and to bring greater transparency. To this end, over a third of our barges are already equipped with this technology, with more to be added over the next two years, against an industry average of just one percent.
We also see the ability to manage the supply chain through our alignment with Trafigura as a key competitive advantage for the joint venture given to provide greater certainty.
TFG Marine is also continuing to work on the development of a digital portal that can provide customers with information including quotes and certificates of quality. Combined with the data gathered by our mass flow meters, this has the potential to provide a live view of the entire bunkering process and further differentiate TFG Marine from its competitors.
As the shipping industry transitions from carbon intensive fuels to low-carbon alternatives such as green ammonia and methanol, TFG Marine plans to work with its shareholders and customers to ensure that they can reach their decarbonisation goals and access the fuels of the future.
Looking forward, we expect further turbulence in the year ahead as the bunker market is affected by geopolitical events and fears of recession.
Galena Asset Management
Galena Asset Management is a wholly owned and regulated investment subsidiary of Trafigura. It manages internal capital in several funds that are also available to third-party investors. The investment strategies run by Galena Asset Management leverage Trafigura's insight into metals, mining, energy and renewables.
The highlight of 2022 was the launch of the Galena Structured Credit Resources Fund, which specialises in trade finance. It started deploying capital in March 2022 and has currently lent a total of USD50 million to three upstream oil players – two in Canada and one in West Africa.
The fund enables Trafigura and external investors to access an attractive investment strategy that provides stable returns and indirect exposure to commodity prices.
In the coming years, we expect strong growth in alternative capital sources that will allow the funding of efficient new projects that are needed in the energy and metals space.
The Galena Multistrategy Fund, which invests in liquid commodity-related strategies across a number of asset classes, made gains for a second consecutive year.
Overall, 2022 was a complex year, with extreme volatility in commodity prices and financial markets in general. Several strong contrasting themes influenced the markets we followed. Energy prices strengthened, while industrial metals ended the year on the back foot after a strong start.
On the private equity side of the business, nickel and cobalt producer Terrafame continued to make progress with its new battery chemicals plant, gradually ramping up production. Once at full capacity, the plant will be capable of producing 170,000 tonnes of low-carbon nickel sulphate a year, which is enough metal for around one million electric vehicles.
For the year ahead, the high level of volatility is expected to continue as microeconomic fundamentals such as the lack of investment in new production capacity and low inventories bump up against macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds.
Guangxi Jinchuan is one of China’s largest standalone copper smelters. Located in Fangchenggang, Guangxi province, on the country’s southern coast, it has a capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year and utilises power-efficient and environmentally friendly ‘double flash’ technology.
Trafigura has held a 30 percent stake in the Guangxi Jinchuan smelter since 2015, with the remaining 70 percent stake and operational control held by Jinchuan Group, one of China’s largest copper producers.
Linked to our equity stake is a multi-year commercial agreement that gives Trafigura the right to supply around 30 percent of Guangxi Jinchuan’s copper concentrate and to purchase around 30 percent of its cathodes. In 2022, the smelter expects to achieve record production and profits.
Looking forward to 2023, the copper concentrates market is expected to be in surplus, which should boost treatment and refining margins and underpin the profitability of Guangxi Jinchuan. Additionally, production is expected to reach 500,000 tonnes.
Founded in 2014, H2 Energy is a Zurich-based company that develops, engineers and invests in clean hydrogen eco-systems for heavy duty transportation. In December 2020, Trafigura announced that it would invest more than USD60 million in the company and to form a joint venture, H2 Energy Europe.
H2 Energy was the first company worldwide to deliver hydrogen fuel cell trucks to commercial users through a pay-per-use business model. Working in partnership with Hyundai, Linde and electricity producer Alpiq, its trucks are being used by retailers and logistics companies across Switzerland.
The company continues to make good progress and is building on its solid market first-mover position. In November 2022, the first Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell truck received road approval in Germany.
H2 Energy Europe has established a joint venture with Phillips 66. Over the next five years, the Joint Venture will roll out a hydrogen filling station network under the JET brand with over 250 sites along major transport routes across Germany, Denmark and Austria.
It is also making good progress on its main project – a one gigawatt scale green hydrogen project in Denmark where we are working toward a final investment decision in 2023.
To enable green hydrogen to become one of the energy commodities of the future, it will require massive production capacities to drive down costs and ensure availability for end users.
Once fully commissioned in 2025, the site at the port of Esbjerg would convert wind power – generated off the west coast of Denmark – into as much as 100,000 tonnes a year of green hydrogen.
In addition to mobility, the green hydrogen produced at Esbjerg would also be used for the production of electro-fuels for use in ships, trains, ancillary and grid stabilization services and other areas.
In March 2021, Trafigura acquired a 19 percent interest in Goro Resources via its shareholding in Prony Resources New Caledonia. Goro Resources is a significant nickel mining operation on the Pacific island and Prony Resources New Caledonia is a joint venture that includes investors, Prony management, employees and local government and community organisations. Prony Resources has secured direct employment for more than 1,500 people and indirect employment for more than 2,000 contractors in New Caledonia.
Following the takeover, the facility was successfully restarted with a focus on producing mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), a chemical form of nickel and cobalt that can be used in the batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs).
Strong demand for this type of product, as a result of growing demand for EVs, has supported the decision to shift the facility from producing nickel for use in stainless steel production.
Priorities for 2023 include progressing the tailings dry-stacking project, known as Project Lucy, which is aimed at reducing waste storage risk and protecting the environment. Overall, work continues to build up the operation so that production can be increased to at least 36,000 tonnes of nickel a year in a safe and stable manner.