Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has announced it is launching a new commodities trading arm based in Switzerland, focusing on a range of goods including petroleum, coal and metals.

The company says the new entity, called Sber Trading Swiss, will focus on trading in oil and oil products, as well as coal, base metals, bulk and agriculture. It will be based in Zug, around 25km south of Zurich, and operations are expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.

Denis Lunin has been appointed chief executive of the new entity, having held a variety of commodities-related roles at Russian and international financial institutions.

Lunin previously spent 11 years at VTB, most recently as executive director for business development, and prior to that was vice-president for fixed income currency and commodities for Citi’s operations in Israel and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of Sberbank’s executive board, says the new entity will elevate it to “a new level in physical commodity trading”.

“We are planning to work primarily with the Sberbank clients, producers and consumers of raw materials in Russia and the CIS countries,” Popov says.

Products offered by Sber Trading Swiss will include the international purchase and sale of physical commodities, including storage, transportation and distribution. Commodities finance offerings will consist of prepayment and deferred payment structures, it says.

Sberbank, which is majority owned by the Russian government, says the new division will add to its existing physical trading infrastructure, including PAO Sberbank – its precious metals trading arm – as well as physical trading house OOO SB Commodities Trading.