Monday, March 30, 2009

Daily news - 30 Mar

CEO pushes for a fighting fit Keppel
Keppel Corp chief executive officer Choo Chiau Beng has made clear his immediate mission in his maiden annual report as CEO - to lead the company out of the downturn in fighting-fit condition. 'My top priority is to make Keppel fighting-fit by becoming leaner and stronger,' said Mr Choo. 'To achieve this, we are reviewing all our businesses to see how we can create further value out of them. We will rationalise and restructure, and even shed some operations where we are unlikely to extract much more value.' He conceded that, like many other businesses, Keppel's various business units have also been affected by the downturn. Delayed launches of residential property projects, volatility in crude oil prices and the resulting drop in rig orders, and a slowdown in infrastructure projects coming onstream have all had an impact. But Mr Choo said: 'Over the longer term, we remain confident of the fundamentals of the industries we are in.' 'We believe there continues to be growth potential in our key businesses, as they meet global needs which are real, concrete and enduring.'

Noble hires 5 to trade fuel oil globally
Noble Group will start trading physical fuel oil globally for the first time after employing at least five traders, expanding at a time when most such firms are downsizing, industry sources said. They said the commodity trader's move could be linked to expectations they could gain from potentially firm trade margins due to tightening residual fuel supply as Asian and European refineries upgraded over the past two years, with more to come. All five hires were formerly from Trafigura, who left the European trading house in the past year, and are expected to be based in the three trading centres of London, New York and Singapore. Its fuel oil business is due to start on April 1. The head of the team is expected to be Magd Mohaffel, formerly Trafigura's global head of fuel oil. 'The Noble Group has a long-term strategy and will continue investing selectively in the downcycle in people and assets,' chief operating officer Ricardo Leiman said when asked about the move. 'We want to expand our energy business globally and will continuously look at synergising our energy assets.' In the past year, several firms have either stopped trading physical fuel oil, such as Hong Kong-listed Titan Petrochemicals , or exited oil trading, like Swiss-based Projector.

Source: Kim Eng

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