Founder & CEO
Thorax Investments SA
Lisboa / Portugal
"In gold we trust!"
Please tell us briefly about yourself and your business.
My company, Thorax Investments SA, based in Lisbon, has recently started operations and was established to import green-certified gold from Ghana. This gold is then melted into standard gold bars and sold on to precious metal banks in Europe. Before the completion of the transaction arrangements with the gold mine, the gold bars would have been sold. In this way, we have eliminated the operational risk at the time of the transaction. The transports to Portugal are fully insured and therefore risk-free for us. Before I introduced this type of business model, we did test runs. Through my professional activity in my father's company, I learned how such processes work. Back then, we melted and recycled plastic parts for cars. After bagging a degree in Industrial Economics, I worked for more than ten years as an Asset Manager in Switzerland, managed several Bahamas-based companies, and advised specialized Funds in the commodity processing field.
What was your project that needed funding?
Thorax Investments SA needed liquidity to acquire raw gold (900/1000). These recurring gold transactions take ten calendar days on average. We cannot complete this kind of deal without bank guarantees; we, therefore, had to source external financing at the company level. Now we have obtained the needed liquidity with the right instrument and can execute the gold transactions and further continue to expand in the future.
Why did you choose a securitized format?
Before we went operational with Thorax Investments SA, we did such transactions through the Bahamas. However, the regulatory environment for offshore jurisdictions has changed dramatically in recent years. Laws are more stringent, costs have risen, and access to new investors has become increasingly difficult. Under these circumstances, one has to consider whether it is still worthwhile to operate an offshore structure. That's why I looked for European alternatives and finally ended up in Luxembourg.
What has influenced your product choice?
I had several discussions with Vincent, who showed me the different possible solutions from both Guernsey and Luxembourg. Ten years ago, I started my business with a Bahamas solution. These new options were new territory for me and formed a bridge to my earlier work in this new era in the financial market. A securitization from an onshore jurisdiction gives me modern access for my existing and future investors. I was pleased to note that another advantage of the chosen solution is that the European Medium Term Note (EMTN) is classified as a bond in our investors' allocation.
When do you consider the right moment for such a securitized solution?
It was apparent to me that the concept of classic peer-to-peer contracts would be difficult to sell. My existing and future clients want to be able to participate in the same way as they do with other asset classes. That's why it was clear from the outset that I needed a securitized version with a bankable ISIN. Of course, due to the COVID-19 crisis, everything has been locked up. Nevertheless, we are ready to start trading and have already been able to convince some key investors.
What advice would you give to someone considering a securitization?
I can only recommend to the people out there to talk to Vincent from Gessler Capital LLC at an early stage. He was a great help and a very competent contact person. He helped me to put my ideas into the right format, and I am incredibly grateful for that. At my first contact, I had entirely different plans, but talking to him made me realize that there are many more possibilities than I initially thought. I am convinced that in the end, my choice of product was the right one.
What are your next goals or milestones?
We have laid the foundation and now want to expand this concept further for the next two years. For the next step, I have further financing in mind, as well as expansion into other commodities.
Many thanks for the interview. I wish you much success with Thorax Investment SA!
(Interview by Sandra Kotoulas)