CORRECTED-MOVES-Commodities firm Sugih Energy hires ex-MRI traders

(Corrects to remove association with PT Sugih Energy as Sugih Energy International is no longer an affiliate)

SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Singapore-based Sugih Energy International has hired 12 former traders of MRI Trading, as it expands its petroleum trading portfolio and prepares to build a refinery in Sri Lanka.

The commodities firm has traditionally specialized in coal and crude oil but said it sees a growth opportunity now in the oil products business, including naphtha, a sector that has witnessed an exit by some other trading firms recently.

“...we are building our oil trading organization with experienced and proven oil trading professionals,” a company spokesman said.

“The strategy will be further supplemented with physical assets in the coming years to support our trading portfolio.”

Sugih Energy International has signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan authority to build a 420,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Hambantota which would take 48-60 months to complete, the spokesman added.

Some of the companies that have exited the naphtha business in late 2019 were European liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) company Petredec and MRI Trading owned by CWT, a unit of China’s HNA Group Ltd.

Industry sources said MRI Trading shut its oil and oil products as well as its LPG desks in December 2019. It kept the metals business, which has been put up for sale.

A CWT spokesman based in Singapore declined to comment on the shutdown of its petroleum business. (Reporting by Seng Li Peng and Florence Tan; Editing by Rashmi Aich)