Former Mercuria metals chief Busch sets up non-ferrous trading shop

Mercuria’s former global metals chief Tristan Busch has set up a physical metals and concentrates trading firm, he said on Thursday, going it alone in the competitive market as bigger rivals struggle with weak prices and slow spot activity.

His new Geneva-incorporated company, Zopco, will handle non-ferrous metals and concentrates, such as copper and tin, and also focus on off-grade metal not registered with the London Metal Exchange, he told Reuters by email.

Zopco will have a service office in South Africa to focus on shipments from the continent, he said. It will have a staff of four but will grow.

Dave Day, the founder and a shareholder in Scale Distribution, the small LME warehousing firm owned by Orion Mine Finance and Macquarie Group Ltd, is the co-owner of Zopco.

“We’re starting out as a smaller trading house ready to work with both emerging and established companies,” Busch said.

He said he sees opportunities to pick up business from new, small companies that need financing and help with logistics while low prices make it easier to pick up bigger volumes.

“As a new entrant, we have none of the baggage and none of the burden on management that many established firms have today,” Busch said.

“We have no other focus than securing new business. With commodity prices down we see this as an excellent time to start securing interesting volumes.”

Still, his decision to go it alone comes as competition from new entrants rises and at a challenging time for established players as base metals prices hit multi-year lows and spot activity has slowed amid concerns about China’s waning demand.

Busch is returning to trading just months after his abrupt departure from Mercuria, where as global head of metals, he spearheaded the Swiss energy merchant’s foray into metals trading in North and South America and Europe. (Full Story)

Before that he worked for Trafigura, one of the world’s biggest commodities merchants, for eight years, leading the company’s push into aluminum trading and later becoming global head of refined metals.

Source : Reuters, reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang