AlmaStone, an alternative trade and supply chain finance provider active in the soft commodities sector, has made two new hires as it works to expand its origination capabilities in Africa and Latin America.

Sam West joined as head of origination for Africa last week, and is tasked with developing the firm’s existing portfolio on the continent, with a focus on corporates in the agri-business and soft commodities space.

West moves from FBN Bank UK, where he held several different soft commodities, trade finance and business development roles over the course of the past decade. Most recently, he had been serving as the bank’s head of soft commodities since late 2019.

West’s hire follows the appointment of Mauro Nunes as Latin America head in early February. Based in São Paolo, he is tasked with originating business in the region.

He moves after more than 13 years at agri-business giant Bunge, where he spent nearly a decade in his most recent role as a business development director within the Bunge Financial Services Group (FSG).

During his time in that post, he was responsible for developing the financial services on offer from Bunge FSG in Latin America, including trade and structured finance operations, financial risk management and ESG facilities.

Both hires report to AlmaStone partner Jan Kees van der Wild.

AlmaStone’s focus is broadly on agri-business and soft commodities, having launched in 2017 as a provider of finance solutions for companies engaged in trade, including pre-export or pre-payment financing, inventory financing, as well as receivables discounting.

Based in London, the firm works to provide short to medium-term financing facilities to companies in at least two regions, including Africa and South America. AlmaStone’s website notes that the firm is itself backed by “long-term institutional capital”.

Following AlmaStone’s two latest hires, the company now has around 20 employees based in the US, UK, Brazil and Switzerland.