Belgium expands investigation into Trafigura's zinc firm Nyrstar

LONDON (Reuters) - Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has expanded an investigation it started in September into zinc group Nyrstar, which is now owned by commodities trader Trafigura, the regulator said on Friday.

Nyrstar underwent a major restructuring last year to avoid bankruptcy, during which Trafigura stepped in to raise its stake in Nyrstar’s operations to 98%. The remaining 2% is held by other shareholders through another entity called Nyrstar NV.

The FSMA said in a statement that its initial investigation had focused on Nyrstar’s commercial relationship with Geneva-based Trafigura but it had now been expanded to include two other aspects.

“These are the provision of information about the expected profit contribution from and the total costs for the Port Pirie smelter in Australia, and of information about the company’s solvency and liquidity position at the end of 2018,” it said.

Trafigura declined to comment. A spokesman for Nyrstar NV said the company was reviewing the development.

Nyrstar is one of the world’s largest zinc smelting companies with smelters across northern Europe, the United States and Australia. It also has zinc mines in North America.

Reporting by Julia Payne; Additional reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels; Editing by David Clarke