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Supply Chain

Louis Dreyfus Company Withstands Commodity Price Drop To Post Stable Profits

By Reuters
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Louis Dreyfus Company Withstands Commodity Price Drop To Post Stable Profits

Louis Dreyfus Company's (LDC) profits last year held close to the bumper levels of 2022, with the agricultural commodity giant saying its global trading network helped it withstand falling prices.

LDC, one of the world's largest crop traders and processors whose competitors include ADM, Bunge, and Cargill, said 2023 core earnings (EBITDA) dipped to $2.22 billion (€2.04 billion) from $2.35 billion (€2.16 billion) a year before, while its net income remained stable at $1.01 billion (€929.2 million).

Sales fell more sharply, to $50.6 billion (€46.57 billion) from $59.9 billion (€55.08 billion) in 2022, reflecting a fall in prices and volumes.

Resilient Performance

'LDC's performance remained resilient despite lower volumes sold and decreased volatility compared to 2022,' the group said in an annual report.

While markets were less chaotic than in 2022, when the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine pushed global food commodity prices to a record high, the war and weather setbacks continued to disrupt supply and let LDC use its global network to generate profitable trade, it said.

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Demand for Brazilian crops in China helped drive stronger results at its grain and oilseed business, it added.

LDC had previously reported a drop in first-half earnings.

It did not give an outlook for 2024 performance. Rival Bunge said last month it expected lower earnings this year as ample crop supplies curb margins.

LDC, which handles farm goods from sugar to cotton, has partly shifted its focus towards the consumer end of the food chain to become less reliant on commodity trading.

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Annual Highlights

The group said it increased capital expenditure almost 16% year-on-year, supporting the expansion of oilseed processing and not-from-concentrate juice production.

In Russia, where the group stopped sourcing grain like other multinational merchants last year, it booked a $60 million loss (€55.2 million) for the deconsolidation of its local business.

Last year's earnings helped push up LDC's equity value to a new record of $6.7 billion (€6.16 billion) as of 31 December 2023, up from a previous high of $6.1 billion (€5.61 billion) a year earlier.

Improved results and the entry of Abu Dhabi holding firm ADQ as a shareholder in 2021 have helped resolve tensions over debt and ownership at the group, which is controlled by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus via family trust Akira.

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