Phibro Chief Founds Hedge Fund

Feb 16 2010 | 3:53am ET

Former Citigroup star energy trader Andrew Hall and his new partners are going into the hedge fund business.

Hall and Occidental Petroleum, which bought the lucrative Phibro oil-and-gas trading unit last year, have set up Astenbeck Capital Management. The new firm will manage outside money—it already boasts $1.4 billion in assets under management—while Phibro will manage Occidental’s money exclusively, the Financial Times reports.

Phibro, based in Westport, Conn., has had outside investors since 2007, and launched a fundraising effort last year as Citi was selling the group to Occidental for $250 million. Astenbeck has replaced Phibro as the manager of that money.

Hall owns 80% of the new firm, and Occidental owns the rest. According to the FT, interested investors should be ready to pony up a fair amount if they want Hall to manage their money: Astenbeck features a $25 million minimum investment requirement.

Schloss DerneburgSchloss DerneburgAmong the assets Astenbeck is managing are pooled commodities funds with more than $700 million, set up two years ago.

Astenbeck is named for a village near Hall’s sprawling castle, Schloss Derneburg, outside of Hannover, Germany. The firm’s commodity fund dropped about 6% last month, although the firm has never posted an annual loss and earned some $2 billion for Citi over the past five years.

Citi sold Phibro to Occidental in October. The Wall Street giant, which took billions in government bailout money, had been under pressure to offload the unit because Hall was due a $100 million bonus under his contract.

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