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Published on November 21, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on December 19, 2012 8:51AM

Major privately held corporation reports $27.6 billion in annual sales


Capital Press

The agri-business division of a major privately held global corporation has opened its books to the public for the first time in its 160-year history.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities, an international processor and shipper of agricultural goods, recently disclosed its mid-2012 financial report after its first-ever public bond offering earlier this year.

In September, the company raised $350 million by issuing bonds with an annual interest rate of 8.25 percent on the Singapore Exchange.

The company earned nearly $300 million in profits during the first half of the year, a drop of more than 28 percent compared to the same period in 2011, according to the financial report recently filed with the exchange.

Total sales dropped to about $27.6 billion, down from $29.3 billion in mid-2011.

"The global environment was characterized by a lack of visibility and significant uncertainty due to the European sovereign debt crisis and the deceleration of Chinese growth," said Serge Schoen, the company's CEO, in the report.

The volume of goods shipped by the company increased 6 percent over the prior year but revenues fell "due to a lower price environment," particularly in its "tropicals" segment -- juices, coffee, sugar and cotton -- which represents nearly 24 percent of sales.

Roughly 60 percent of the revenues earned by Louis Dreyfus Commodities came from its "proteins" segment, which stores, processes and ships grains, oilseeds and related products.

The remaining revenues were derived from trading metals and raw materials, as well as from Biosev, the company's Brazil-based sugar, ethanol and energy company.

As of mid-2012, prior to the bond offering, the firm had about $17.8 billion in debt and other liabilities.

The number of the company's employees rose to 34,000 in mid-2012, up from 30,600 at the same point the prior year.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities is part of the larger Louis-Dreyfus conglomerate, based in the Netherlands, which also trades in oil, natural gas, coal, plastics and other products.


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