* Continent responsible for quarter of revenues
* Big growth story but risks high too
* African business first to be floated
By Dmitry Zhdannikov
LONDON, Jan 31 Trafigura relies on Africa for
almost a quarter of its revenues, the commodities giant has
revealed, highlighting one of the highest risk appetites in the
industry as it prepares to float a chunk of business.
Trafigura told its bond holders Africa generated $29 billion
worth of revenues in 2012 out of a total of $120 billion.
Africa came only slightly behind Asia with $31 billion, with
Europe coming third with $20.7 billion. North America generated
$16 billion, Latin America $14 billion and the Middle East $8.7
billion, sources familiar with the report told Reuters.
Trafigura declined comment.
The company was founded 20 years ago by Claude Dauphin, one
of the closest allies of the godfather of contemporary oil
trading Marc Rich.
Rich's company Marc Rich and Co ultimately transformed
itself into trading giant Glencore following a
Just like Glencore before its record initial share offering
two years ago, Trafigura reveals its results only to a limited
number of bond holders.
Trafigura is preparing to float its Africa-focused
subsidiary Puma. The share of African business in its results is
therefore important as it could give a hint of how much
Trafigura - also expected by market players to go public one day
- is worth itself.
Many commodities players say Africa will become the fastest
growing continent in the next decade, catching up with Asia,
which has fuelled commodities growth in the past decade.
The regional split, however, highlights risks and
vulnerabilities of Trafigura's business.
Like many other commodities traders, Trafigura is a large
player in oil exports and fuel deliveries to Nigeria, a risky
business which can generate heavy debts. The firm is owed dozens
of millions of dollars by Nigerian authorities alongside Vitol,
Glencore and Mercuria.
It used to apply the same model in Angola although shipping
data showed that Trafigura stopped receiving crude allocations
from state oil firm Sonangol in 2012. It remains active in
distributing fuel through a Puma joint venture with Angola's
Swiss-based Trafigura declined to comment on the changes to
its business in Angola.
It was also one of the leading exporters of oil from Sudan.
A cargo that it was marketing last year was seized as part of an
international dispute between Sudan and the newly independent
Trafigura's best known African episode was a $200 million
settlement with Ivory Coast in a dispute with the country over
toxic waste dumping.
Trafigura's net profit was $992 million to September 2012
down from $1.11 billion in 2011 but excluding the sale of assets
it was actually smaller.
Sales of assets have generated $340 million, including the
disposal of copper producer Anvil Mining in the Democratic
Republic of Congo to China's Minmetals in February 2012 for $305
Without those one-offs, Trafigura's profits were around $650
The firm's gross debt grew to $18 billion from $16.7 billion
a year earlier but most of the debt was likely short-term and
relating to commodities inventories.
The debt level does not seem to be worrying the lenders as
Trafigura said it was dealing with 110 banks around the world
and its credit lines have risen to $38 billion from $17 billion
(Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva, editing by