Koch said to cut oil-trading jobs from Asia, Europe, U.S.

By Serene Cheong, Andy Hoffman and Laura Blewitt on 2/27/2018
SINGAPORE, GENEVA and HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Koch Supply & Trading is cutting jobs from its global oil business as one of the largest private U.S. companies contends with trading conditions that also proved tough for several rivals.

The unit of Koch Industries Inc., which is run by billionaires Charles and David Koch with interests spanning everything from petroleum to ranching and farming, is making reductions across locations including Singapore, Geneva and Houston, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

The final headcount reduction is unclear, but people familiar with the matter said at least 10 trading jobs have gone. The cuts were focused mainly in petrochemicals, fuel oil and gasoline trading, according to the people.

The cuts come at a time when one of the boom trades of 2015-16 -- storing a global glut of oil for profit -- has all but dried up as OPEC and allied nations restrict supply and steadily eliminate that surplus. Vitol Group, the biggest independent, and Trafigura Group both said conditions got tougher in oil last year.

“Koch Supply & Trading has made adjustments to its global commodity trading presence to better reflect the current market opportunities and need for our problem-solving capabilities,” Rob Carlton, a Koch spokesman, said in an emailed response to questions. “We retain an active presence across commodity markets.”

Carlton declined to answer specific questions on the headcount reductions.

Koch has North American trading offices in Houston, New York, Mexico City and Wichita, Kansas. In Europe, its London office focuses mainly on metals trading while Geneva is the trading hub for crude and petroleum products, according to Koch’s website. Singapore traders handle both oil and metals while Shanghai specializes in chemical trading, the company says.

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