Dutch trading firm Nidera BV reported its first loss in five years for 2015 due to a rouge biofuels trader losing nearly US$200M over three years, Bloomberg reported on 29 June.
Nidera is a division of state-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), which agreed to buy a 51% stake in it in February 2014.
Nidera accumulated a net loss of US$188M in biofuel trading in the three years to the end of 2015 or US$238M before taxes, Bloomberg said.
The main reason for the loss were "irregularities discovered in our biofuel trade business in Rotterdam, which led to a considerable overstatement of our stocks and forward book and to a substantial bad debt position," Nidera said in its annual filing to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
"The responsible trader was dismissed and we stopped trading in the biofuels business," Nidera said. "The matter was an isolated event in a non-core part of the business."
Nidera restated accounts for 2014 and 2015 and changed its financial year. In the 15 months to the end of December, Nidera lost US$135M. That compared with profit of US$42.9M in the 12 months ending 30 September 2014, Bloomberg said.
According to the news agency, Dutch anti-fraud police have seized more than US$1.1M in real estate, cash in bank accounts, an equity portfolio and a car from a former trader who worked for a firm dealing in agricultural products and biofuels.
The Dutch prosecutor office said the man was suspected of "non-official corruption and forgery," adding he earned approximately E1.2M euros between 2013 and May 2015 through gifts concealed to his employer. The prosecutor did not disclose the identity of the trader and the case is ongoing.
Nidera said the case was related to its biofuel losses.
COFCO was expected to increase its stake in Nidera because the contract governing its 51% acquisition included a clause tying the stake to the Dutch trader’s performance, Bloomberg said.