Strong performance as our services remained in high demand

The six-month period to the end of March 2023 saw our teams continue to work hard to help reconfigure supply chains after the disruptions of recent years.

We continued to experience strong demand for our services from a global customer base that relies on us to help secure access to vital resources in an increasingly complex world.

As we have highlighted in previous reports, our core business of moving commodities from where they are produced to where they are needed has become more complex but also more critical and more in demand than ever before.

Indeed, many of the trends that characterised markets in the last six months of our 2022 financial year continued into this period, which also saw China’s economy re-open after three years of isolation due to the pandemic.

All this came against a backdrop of rising interest rates, as central banks attempted to quell inflationary pressures and a series of bank failures in the US that spilled over into Europe.

The switch to cleaner forms of energy, which are highly metals intensive, also continued to gather momentum with the launch of new policies such as the EU’s Net Zero Industry Act.

By drawing on the experience and capabilities that we have built up over the past three decades, we were able to deliver a high level of service to our clients and achieve a net profit of USD5,544 million for the period.

In spite of our strong performance, we did have a major issue in our nickel business, uncovering a significant fraud against the company, and resulting in a write-off of close to USD600 million, mainly in inventories. This systematic fraud against our company, which involved widespread falsification of documents and misrepresentations by counterparties, is extremely disappointing and something we take very seriously. While there was no wholesale failure of systems or processes across Trafigura, and no evidence of complicity by any of our employees, we have, of course, needed to make a number of improvements

We have appointed new Co-Heads of Battery Metals and made several changes to the management structure of our operational teams to further improve oversight. We are also continuing to undertake a thorough review to identify opportunities to tighten our systems and processes.

Fraud has no place in our industry and we believe it is important to share information about alleged fraudsters to prevent further malfeasance or illegal activity – unfortunately, something that all too often does not happen. We continue to pursue the perpetrators of this fraud through the courts.

At a divisional level, our Oil and Petroleum Products teams delivered another robust performance. They were quick in adapting to changing market conditions and trade flows.

During the period, we secured a deal to provide crude oil for one of the biggest refineries in southern Europe, the ISAB operation in Sicily, including an agreement to market the refined fuels it produces. The transaction is a good example of the supply chain and logistics solutions we can provide.

Our natural gas and LNG teams had a strong half year, working hard to provide security of supply to customers in a stressed market environment. This was highlighted by a long-term agreement we signed to deliver a substantial amount of gas to Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE), including a guarantee from the German Federal government export credit agency.

Our power trading activities continued to gain momentum and recorded a significantly higher profit during the period. There was also a strong contribution from our Shipping and Chartering team, which used its fleet expertly in one of the strongest tanker markets in recent history to help our commercial teams and external customers.

I am also pleased to report that our Shipping and Chartering division managed to reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions and is on track to meet its long-term environmental targets.

As part of our wider Group sustainability commitments, and following on from pledges to uphold commitments in the Shipping and Aluminium sectors, in January 2023, we joined other leading companies in the First Movers Coalition with a pledge to purchase at least 50,000 tonnes of durable and scalable net carbon dioxide removal credits by the end of 2030 generated through advanced carbon dioxide removal technologies.

In Metals and Minerals, our teams across non-ferrous metals and bulk minerals delivered a robust performance overall in challenging market conditions.

During the first half of the year, as part of a consortium, we signed a concession agreement with the Angolan government to refurbish and operate the 1,300km Lobito rail corridor, which offers a western route to market for crucial energy transition metals from the African Copperbelt that is quicker and less carbon intensive than long-distance road transport.

We also completed the acquisition of the Stolberg multimetals smelter in Germany, adding another strategic processing asset to Nyrstar’s portfolio of metals processing operations in Europe.

This year marks the 30th anniversary since Trafigura was founded. In that time, we have built a global, resilient and successful business.

It is becoming increasingly clear that our industry will need to play an important role to facilitate the shift to a low-carbon economy. Our insights and expertise in managing global supply chains and developing new markets and investments in new supply of low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen and key transition metals, mean that we are well placed to play a crucial role in this transition.

At the same time, we also have a responsibility to provide energy and power to meet the needs of a growing global population.

All of that makes me very confident in our prospects over the medium and long term.

In the near term, however, we do not expect the extraordinary conditions that have characterised global commodity markets in 2022 and the first half of 2023 to continue in the remainder of this year.

The impact of tighter monetary policy on the global economy, a less stressed environment for commodity supply chains and seasonal factors that affect demand for commodities such as gas, are all helping to moderate volatile conditions and are likely to see the pace of our growth slow compared to the previous 12 months.

Jeremy Weir

Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer