LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Commodity trader Trafigura said on Monday its logistics and warehouse unit Impala Terminals plans to focus its refined metals business in Antwerp, Dubai and China, exiting several sites to concentrate on places where it has greater control.
Trafigura, one of the world's largest commodities traders, said Impala planned to cease operation in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey and Italy by the end of 2014.
The company said the impact of suspected metals financing fraud at China's Qingdao port on Impala Terminals "was not material", but the probe had affected some partners and hit confidence in the industry as a whole.
"Impala Terminals is focusing on export markets for bulk commodities (dry/wet) and on its larger, capital-intensive port and terminal developments selectively on a global basis," it said in a statement as it released its annual report.
Chinese authorities launched a probe in May at Qingdao, the world's seventh-busiest port, and nearby Penglai, into whether fake warehouse receipts were used to obtain multiple loans secured against a single cargo of metal.
"In China, we are restructuring our activities to strengthen operational control on the ground," it said in the report. "We are exiting third-party warehouses and focusing our energies on four locations where we lease or own the site and employ our own staff."
In October, a subsidiary of Citic Securities Co Ltd , China's largest investment bank, signed an agreement with Impala to set up a joint warehousing and logistics unit in China.
Trafigura bought warehousing company North European Marine Services (NEMS) in 2010 and later consolidated all of its warehousing and logistics activities into its subsidiary Impala.
Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by David Holmes