SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Co is not looking to sell its Brazilian juice operations, but it is open to partnerships in the area, including possible tie-ups with local bottlers, Murilo Parada, chief executive for the Brazil unit, told Reuters on Monday.
Parada, who is also Dreyfus global head for juices, spoke after the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reported on Monday rumors that Dreyfus wanted to sell its juice assets in Brazil and that Israel’s Prodalim was interested in buying.
“Prodalim has not contacted us, and even if it had we are not interested in selling the operation,” Parada said.
Prodalim and Louis Dreyfus Co announced last month a deal for the Israeli company to buy a juice storage and blending facility in the United States.
Under the deal, Dreyfus would continue to use the facility for blending operations and storage on a long-term contract.
Prodalim has said it plans to expand in the sector. It closed a deal with Brazilian juice producer Gota Doce Citrus in 2014 granting Prodalim exclusivity to market Gota’s products.
“Dreyfus is open to partnerships, upstream and downstream in the juice sector, but we are not selling the plants,” said Parada.
He was promoted to lead global juice operations just over a week ago, after Adrian Isman was named to head its Grains and Value Chain Platforms.
The Dreyfus Brazil unit CEO said the company had decided to strengthen juice production in Brazil, reducing its presence in the United States due to falling fruit production in Florida.
The company has four juice processing plants in Brazil, the world’s largest orange juice exporter, and one port terminal for juice loadings.
Regarding the changes in grains management, Parada said Isman would likely work very closely now with André Roth, global head for oilseeds. Both worked together in Brazil for some years in the past.
Isman, Parada said, will continue to be based in the United States and continue to head Dreyfus operations there as the region’s CEO, in addition to his duties as grains head.
He declined to say more regarding possible further changes in the company’s grains management.
Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Phil Berlowitz