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(Bloomberg) — Trafigura Group posted its smallest first-half profit since 2020 — down 73% from a year earlier — as the commodity giant adjusts to calmer conditions across its key energy and metals markets.

The results signal how the commodity trading industry is coming to the end of its most-profitable period ever, sparked first by the Covid-19 pandemic and then supercharged by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The dramatic price swings that traders thrived on in recent years have decreased, while regional supply shortfalls are now largely filled.

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Trafigura’s net profit dropped to $1.47 billion in the six months through March, sharply off the record $5.5 billion posted a year earlier. Revenue fell 5.4% to $124.2 billion, while group equity increased to $17.3 billion. 

The company and its rivals have been warning for some time that they don’t expect the blowout profit numbers of the past few years to continue, although the general view in the industry is that the baseline has now been set at a higher level. Trafigura’s first-half earnings were still higher than most of its annual profits for the years before 2020.

“In a less stressed environment than the same period a year ago, demand for our services remained strong,” Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Weir said in the report published on Thursday. “In the near term, supply chain disruptions continue to persist, including due to ongoing threats in the Red Sea and commodity markets remain vulnerable to sudden shocks and price spikes.”

Trafigura’s energy division — which includes oil, gas, power and renewables — saw operating profit before depreciation and amortization drop by half, to $3.35 billion. The metals division posted an 11% increase from a year earlier, when the company recorded a large impairment after being hit by an alleged nickel fraud. 

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An end to the eye-watering profits among the leading commodity traders would also mean reduced payouts to the group of traders and executives who have been reaping huge dividends from their shares in the mostly privately-owned companies. 

Trafigura, which is owned by roughly 1,400 employee shareholders, declared $661.1 million in dividends, down from a record $3 billion a year earlier.

Like its rivals, the company has also been plowing the massive profits into acquisitions — Trafigura is buying the European and Canadian assets of fuel distributor Greenergy, as well as an oil refinery in France as part of a consortium.

The retreat in profit comes as Trafigura works through a generational shift in its senior management, with a string of top executives announcing their retirement from the company, including Chief Financial Officer Christophe Salmon and Executive Director Jose Larocca. Bloomberg also reported in April that Weir himself has been considering anointing a new CEO while retaining the role of chairman, with head of gas and power Richard Holtum viewed internally as a likely successor. 

Trafigura has been hit by a series of setbacks over the past year. The company is still working through the fallout after falling victim to the massive nickel fraud, while Bloomberg reported in February that it also faced sizable losses related to its oil activities in Mongolia.

The company said on Thursday its expected credit losses on receivables rose to $330.2 million from $3.3 million at the end of last September. The losses applied to several counterparties in a number of different countries, Trafigura said. 

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