PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) - Global commodities trader Louis Dreyfus is to buy Dutch-based dairy trading group Ecoval for an undisclosed sum to tap growing demand in emerging countries.
Louis Dreyfus said on Monday the deal to buy Ecoval from Belgian group Prominter and Dutch firm CV Datrex Beheer was expected to close in the second half.
The move came with family-owned Louis Dreyfus stepping up its investments - it has plans to spend $7 billion over the next five years, making more acquisitions than previously.
In the past week, Louis Dreyfus has unveiled plans to list Brazilian sugar and ethanol division Biosev in an offering that could raise up to $548 million, while also taking a stake in the $3.1 billion listing of Felda Global as part of an alliance with the Malaysian palm oil producer.
Ecoval had sales of more than $530 million last year and handled about 250,000 tonnes of dairy products.
"This acquisition is a significant step for the development of LDC's (Louis Dreyfus Commodities) dairy platform and will elevate us to be an important player in the global trade markets for a diverse portfolio of dairy products," LDC chief operating officer Ciro Echesortu said.
The combined dairy business would have a "special focus in serving growing demand in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America", he said.
LDC, the trading arm of the Louis Dreyfus group, posted sales of $59.6 billion in 2011. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Dan Lalor)