SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Commodity trader Swiss Singapore Overseas aims to double its revenue over the next few years by expanding its oil and coal portfolio, and is ramping up hiring as part of that drive, a senior company official told Reuters.
The firm, part of the Indian multinational conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, posted a turnover of $4.6 billion in its last financial year and is set to achieve $5 billion this year, said Krishnan K Gupta, head of its energy team.
Its overall target is $10 billion in the next 3 to 4 years, Gupta said late on Wednesday on the sidelines of the S&P Global Platts APPEC conference in Singapore.
“Oil has to grow for that, and this is the year we are taking steps,” Gupta said, adding that he expects Indian demand for petrochemical products to continue to increase as a growing middle class buys more goods like plastics, paints and adhesives.
To help achieve its goals, the company expects to hire 40 to 50 people in 2018, including 12 to 13 traders, boosting its current global staff of over 200.
Swiss Singapore, which recently recruited a naphtha trader to grow its petrochemicals business, is planning to hire a derivatives trader to start a pure paper trading desk, Gupta said.
The company, which was incorporated in Singapore in 1978 but is headquartered in Dubai, plans to expand its coal trading business, which makes up more than 50 percent of its energy portfolio.
It wants to boost volumes to 20 million tonnes next year from this financial year’s 18 million tonnes and from 16.5 million tonnes last year.
Gupta said that growth in coal volumes had been slower than expected due to worries over potential import restrictions in China and an anticipated increase in domestic output in India.
The firm aims to supply more volumes to Southeast Asia and is eyeing new markets in Egypt and West Africa, while sourcing coal from Indonesia, South Africa and the United States.
“Southeast Asian economies are all growing,” said Gupta.
Appetite for coal will not be dampened in the short term by India’s push into renewable energy as infrastructure will take some time to build, he said.
Swiss Singapore was the top importer last year at India’s main coal port of Kandla.
The company is also planning to boost its carbon black feedstock trade, as well as expanding the number of ships it owns from the current two Supramax vessels, each with capacity of about 50,000 deadweight tonnes (DWT).
Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Joseph Radford