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Commodity Trade Finance: Uncovering the Opportunities in Africa
Radio Feature 105: Sona Blessing in conversation with Nicolas Clavel
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

radio Nicolas Clavel is the founder and chief investment officer of Scipion Capital, which provides secured lending via short-term self-liquidating loans to finance the delivery, production, and/or processing of non-perishable commodities as export, import, or within Africa. Physical control of the goods being financed is secured via a pledge agreement.
He oversees the investment processes for all of the firm’s strategies and is responsible for the development of all new products. In addition, he sits on Scipion Capital’s Investment Committee.
Nicolas has over three decades of experience in trade finance and in this podcast elaborates on the commodity trade finance opportunities in Africa, the hurdles and their ability to deliver consistent risk-adjusted returns.

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Commodity Trade Finance: Uncovering the Opportunities in Africa

Duration: 14:48 


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  • Q1 - Trade financing is often adhered to as “merchant banking in a hedge fund garb”.
    So Nic, could you talk us through your fund’s strategy?

    Duration: 01:40 

  • Q2 - In terms of portfolio allocation - how many such trade positions/allocations do you have on average?
    Also, given that African countries often grab headlines for amongst others: political, social, military upheaval; why have you chosen to focus on investment opportunities in Africa?

    Duration: 01:46 

  • Q3 - In which African states do you have a presence?
    Where do you see the opportunities - geographically and on a sector and value-added basis?

    Duration: 01:42 

  • Q4 - Could you share some other trade examples beyond the metals and mining sectors?

    Duration: 00:59 

  • Q5 - How does infrastructure, or rather the lack of it, pose a challenge?

    Duration: 02:25 

  • Q6 - How do you source your trades?

    Duration: 01:18 

  • Q7 - How do you determine the rate of interest on a loan being made?
    How do you ensure that the rate set is realistic-payable, without causing the loan taker to default, whilst it is still a profitable proposition for the fund?

    Duration: 01:42 

  • Q8 - How do you manage and mitigate the different risks associated with running such a strategy? In particular valuation, default, fraud, legal, political, corruption, currency …

    Duration: 02:23 

  • Q9 - How do you manage and mitigate fraud related risk?

    Duration: 00:54 

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