Phibro Hedge Fund Goes From 12% Loss To 12% Gain In Four Months

Feb 10 2011 | 5:02am ET

John Paulson isn't the only well-remunerated hedge fund manager to manage a major turnaround late last year.

Astenbeck Capital Management, the firm run by former star Citigroup energy trader Andrew Hall, also swung from a double-digit loss to a double-digit gain as the year drew to a close. Westport, Conn.-based Astenbeck's flagship was down 12% through the end of August—but was up 12% by the time the ball dropped in Times Square, Reuters reports. The fund returned 9% in September and then again in December to both begin and complete the turnaround.

The $1.7 billion fund relied on metals and agricultural commodities, as oil and natural gas bets took their toll.

"The persistent contango in the oil markets throughout most of 2010 meant that returns from oil were not as good as those from some other commodities," Hall wrote.

Hall founded Astenbeck in 2008, just before Occidental Petroleum bought Hall's Phibro trading desk from Citi in 2009. Citi moved to sell the highly-profitable desk, which now manages money exclusively for Occidental, because it feared the ire of federal regulators over Hall's guaranteed $100 million bonus.

Astenbeck, which has been closed to new investors, was set to begin accepting new money again last month.


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