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Nyrstar makes hires ahead of deal with Noble

Keywords: Tags  zinc, Nyrstar, Noble Group, Glencore Xstrata, Trafigura, zinc marketing, European zinc premiums, mating season Mark Burton

LONDON — Nyrstar NV has hired four senior managers to boost its marketing capabilities ahead of the termination of its European sales agreement with Glencore Xstrata Plc at year-end.

The hires—from Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), Louis Dreyfus Commodities Group, Rio Tinto Minerals and Trafigura Beheer BV warehousing subsidiary Impala—come as observers say Nyrstar is finalizing an offtake agreement with Hong Kong-based trading house Noble Group Ltd. that is set to include an option for the zinc producer to market a significant portion of its own European commodity-grade output.

A Nyrstar spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Noble has won the rights to sell the European material, but stressed Nyrstar’s interest in creating new marketing options. This might include Nyrstar marketing as much as 50 percent of its own zinc production, one source familiar with the situation said.

The Zurich-based group has hired Julio Rojas, a vice president of market development at Chile’s Codelco, as group manager of sales, and Nancy Concepcion, formerly of Rio Tinto Minerals, as group product manager for metals, the company announced internally Sept. 16.

Nick Bal, formerly a lead and zinc trader at Louis Dreyfus, will manage raw materials marketing, while Martin Snijder will join Nyrstar from Impala to handle supply chain management.

Nyrstar’s commercial European zinc output equates to roughly 350,000 tonnes per year of material, while its remaining output from smelters in Australia and the United States, which Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata will continue to market until at least 2018, is estimated at about 200,000 tonnes per year.

European term premiums for 2013 were broadly agreed between $135 and $145 on a free-carrier basis last year, and negotiations for 2014 terms will start at LME week in October, creating an imperative for both Noble and Nyrstar to complete the deal before the mating season begins.

The Nyrstar spokeswoman said she expects an announcement to be made by the end of September at the latest.

Noble declined to comment.

A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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