10 top global commodity trading firms: Smart money or bad boys?

The smart money typically are the men behind the curtain. Who are they and what do they do?

1)      VITOL GROUP

2012 revenues: $303 billion 

2011 revenue: $297 billion                           

President and CEO: Ian Taylor 

Founded: 1966 by Ian Taylor 

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland; Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Focus: Privately held Vitol is the world’s largest physical oil and gas trader.  According to the firm, crude oil is the largest part of its energy portfolio, stating that in 2012 it sold 117 million tonnes of crude oil, which amounts to around 2.4 million barrels per day. However, it also does trade other commodities including sugar, metals and grains. In fact, a news report stated it took delivery of 144,000 metric tons of raw sugar traded on ICE in July. And in April 2013 it announced the formation of a new group that would trade in grain and other agricultural commodities based in Singapore and Geneva.

Bad behavior: Vitol was found guilty in 2007 of grand larceny related to the United Nations’ oil-for-food program in Iraq, It agreed to pay a total penalty of $17.5 million. 

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