The “International Trade&Commodity Finance” division (ITCF) at WestLB is no more. It has been split up and put under an expanded “Global Specialised Finance” (GSF) umbrella which pools together the project finance, ECA, forfaiting, asset-backed finance, leasing and commodity finance areas. Hans Hoeveler is overall head of the GSF division.
The old “Commodity Trade Finance” unit has merged with “Structured Commodity Finance”, now headed up by Armin Eckermann, with an overall aim to achieve synergies all along the value chain from pre-shipment to post-shipment. The new unit is simply called “Commodity Finance”.
“WestLB is optimising its resources in the field of commodity finance to increase market appearance and position,” says Eckermann. “The merger will not only bring like-headed people under one bigger roof, it will also allow to economise on market and client focus as well as on commodity/country/risk research activities.”
Eckermann explains that the current reorientation of the private WestLB AG is continuing in 2003 and has not stopped short in front of the commodity finance business. A new organisational structure will soon allow increased flexibility in the area of origination and structuring with Düsseldorf and
- London as main locations of GSF Commodity Finance. The synergies of the merger will soon be translated into a wider market coverage and higher average profitability, so Eckermann, and the global presence of the product Commodity Finance will be strengthened globally wherever needed.
All the commodity finance activities of the bank’s Hamburg office have been reallocated between London and Düsseldorf, now the two main centres of trade operations.
Joep Kockmann, previously head of commodity trade finance in London , is head of the commodity finance unit for London , and becomes global head of metals and mining.
Still within Commodity Finance, Hartwig Schuen remains head of energy and chemicals in Düsseldorf. Markus Fuchs is head of soft and near commodities, also in Düsseldorf. Thomas Öhl is head of business development in Düsseldorf, while Anja Vierke is responsible for the CIS/CEE in Düsseldorf, Martin Schmitz heads up Americas from Sao Paulo, Ian Henderson assumes responsibility for Africa , and Peter Frankl heads up Asia from Singapore .
Forfaiting has seen some cut backs in the restructuring. Of the eight main offices dealing with forfaiting worldwide, only four regional presences remain. The team in Shanghai ( Holger Kebernik , Laura Lu, Rosy Zhang) has been made redundant, as have those in Tokyo (Akira Akui, Makoto Harada), Dubai (Andrew Freeman) and Zurich (Walter Fischer, Edith Meier-Streuli and Thomas Kaufmann). Barbara Bosl is said to be relocating to D ísseldorf from Zurich . Ronaldo Pequeneza in Sao Paolo has relocated within the bank. The future of the Paris office is being discussed at present.
The bank’s shareholding in Global Trade Finance Private Ltd (GTF) in India hangs in the balance as the firm specialises in factoring an area that the forfaiting unit is retreating from to concentrate on core forfaiting activity.
All payments and settlements activities previously within ITCF have been placed in a separate unit. Michael Preuss, who previously headed up “Trade Finance”, dealing with this area, is leaving the bank.