Aluminum trader Bermann sells trading firm he founded after Glencore

NEW YORK, July 19 Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:05pm EDT

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NEW YORK, July 19 (Reuters) - Veteran aluminum trader Josef Bermann has sold his stake in JB Commodities AG, severing ties with the base metals merchant firm he set up almost ten years ago after leaving Glencore, the company said.

Bermann is no longer associated with JB Commodities AG and JB Commodities (Overseas) Ltd, the company's chief financial officer Jose Kahn said in a letter seen by Reuters.

To reflect the ownership change, JB Commodities has been renamed Bluequest Resources AG and business continues as normal, Kahn said in his letter, dated July 18.

Bermann, who had been chairman and shareholder of the company based in Zug, Switzerland, left this week, traders said. It was not clear to whom he sold his stake and no financial details of the transaction were available.

The company did not return calls for comment. Berman, who is based in Israel, could not be reached for comment.

Bermann established the company in 2005 after leaving Glencore, the global commodity merchant at which he had run one of the biggest aluminum trading desks in the world.

Along with Michael Armbruester, who also left his job running Glencore's U.S. aluminum book at the same time, Bermann built JB Commodities into a medium-sized aluminum merchant. Traders say it had started to expand into copper.

Kahn said in the letter the company will look to expand into additional commodities as well as geographical locations.

In addition to Zug, the company has offices in Connecticut in the United States, in Santiago, Chile, which is the world's No. 1 copper producer and recently opened an office in Shanghai. China is the world's biggest consumer of non-ferrous metals.

Bermann's departure comes at one of the most uncertain times for the 50 million-tonne global aluminum market as the London Metal Exchange prepares to overhaul its global warehousing system.

While the big warehouses are expected to be affected the most, traders are also assessing the impact of the proposed changes announced on July 1 on their businesses.

The changes are likely to depress premiums, the price paid on top of the LME for physical delivery, which are at record highs, even though the market is in chronic surplus.

Bermann's plans are not known. He set up a real estate company JB Real Estate AG in Zurich in May last year, according to the Swiss commercial register.

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