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Commodity giant Louis Dreyfus completes stake sale to Abu Dhabi's ADQ

13 September 2021, at 12:30am

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) has completed the sale of a 45% indirect stake to Abu Dhabi holding firm ADQ, marking the arrival of the first non-family shareholder in the agricultural commodity group's 170-year history.

© Louis Dreyfus Company

Reuters reports that the overall value of the deal was not disclosed but LDC said in a statement that a portion of the proceeds had been invested in the full repayment of a $1.051 billion loan that LDC had granted to its parent company.

The stake sale to ADQ was initially announced last November.

That ended a long hunt for an investor by controlling shareholder and chairwoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who had built up debt buying out other family members during a period of lean profits for the commodity merchant.

LDC, known as Dreyfus, is the "D" of the "ABCD" quartet of renowned global agricultural commodity firms alongside Archer-Daniels-Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Cargill Inc.

“This partnership with ADQ reinforces LDC’s position and financial strength to accelerate strategic investments (...) including in new areas such as plant-based proteins, as well as in projects to move further downstream in several of our existing business lines,” Chief Executive Michael Gelchie said in the statement.

A surge in commodity prices and strong grain demand from China have also boosted earnings for merchants during the coronavirus pandemic, helping LDC's profit recover last year.

For state-owned ADQ, the investment in LDC extends a foray into food commodities that are crucial to import-reliant Gulf states.

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