Kyen, part owned by Chinese company Shenzhen Feima International Supply Chain Co (>> Shenzhen Feima Intl Supply Chain Co Ltd), said late last week that it had hired 12 staff for its British office and that more would join in coming months.
Matthew Hadfield, formerly of ICBC Standard Bank, will lead the London office.
The step marks the latest example of a China-backed firm seeking a slice of the international metals trading business amid a global revival in manufacturing, filling a gap left by large banks and brokers that have been increasingly hamstrung by tougher regulations and higher costs.
For example, NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund, partly owned by China Molybdenum Co Ltd (>> China Molybdenum Luoyang Co Ltd), in December agreed to buy the global metals business of commodity trader Louis Dreyfus.
Kyen scaled up when it bought the metals trading book of Switzerland's Gunvor in 2016, partly as the Swiss trader dismantled its metals business to focus on more lucrative oil markets and cut counterparty risk.
Kyen is also following in the footsteps of global merchant Viant Commodities which last year launched a tie up with a European copper products maker, and Indian industrial metals firm UD Trading Group, which linked with Switzerland's TMT Metals in 2016.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford)
By Melanie Burton