(Repeats story from Wednesday)
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By Clara Denina
LONDON, Oct 12 Louis Dreyfus Company
expects to start conversations on potentially selling a stake in
its metals business in the second half of 2017, Chief Executive
Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena said on Wednesday.
A senior Louis Dreyfus source said earlier this year the
company was ring-fencing its fertilisers, metals, juice and
dairy units and was seeking partners to help them expand.
"Our metals division can eventually be ready for a
conversation with potential partners in the third or fourth
quarter next year," Ramírez said at the Reuters Commodities
Summit on Wednesday.
"We would like to retain majority but it depends on who
comes on the other side of the table," Ramírez said.
There have already been several expressions of interest,
including some from Asia, he added.
"We definitely have a platform that is extremely attractive
today to someone willing to invest in fixed assets in the base
metals space because we don't have assets, we have some specific
assets in warehousing and blending," he said.
"So anyone willing to go harder on assets investment has the
advantage of a very solid team and flows that already exist. We
would continue to expand into warehousing," he added.
Like many of its peers, Louis Dreyfus, one of four traders
that dominate global agricultural trading along with Archer
Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Cargill Inc
, has been hit by falling prices and weak demand.
Ring-fencing some of its businesses would allow Louis
Dreyfus to focus on higher-margin activities.
Technically, the metals business, which trades more than two
million tonnes of metals and metals products a year, is a
separate legal entity already but it is still fully owned by
LDC, Ramírez said.
LDC started trading non-ferrous metals including copper,
zinc and lead concentrates in 2005 and its metals unit has
offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Connecticut, Geneva, Lima,
Santiago, Puebla and Johannesburg. It also has warehousing and
logistical operations in Peru, Mexico, Chile, Africa and Taiwan.
(Reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Veronica Brown and Susan
Thomas; Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits)