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Gunvor, one of the world’s biggest independent oil traders, has received approaches from investors interested in buying a stake or partnering with the Swiss-based company.

However, no deal is imminent and Gunvor’s billionaire founder Torbjorn Tornqvist has no plans to sell the trading house at the moment, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Gunvor declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Gunvor has discussed a possible sale of the entire company with at least two competitors.

While Mr Tornqvist wants to remain the company’s dominant shareholder, he has not ruled out selling more shares either to staff or a strategic partner, one of the people said.

Gunvor was founded in 2000 by Mr Tornqvist and Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin.

After the US imposed sanctions on Mr Timchenko in 2014 he sold his stake in the company stake to Mr Tornqvist, whose holding jumped to almost 90 per cent.

The Swedish executive has since reduced his stake to 61 per cent, selling shares to senior traders and employees as part of a shift to a partnership model.

Trading houses like Gunvor that specialise in oil emerged as big winners from the commodity price crash, reporting some of their best results on record.

Gunvor currently trades around 2.5m barrels of oil per day and recently reported an increase in underlying profits for 2016.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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