Cargill exits Venezuela after 34 years of uninterrupted activity

VENEZUELA – After 34 years of uninterrupted activity, US agricultural commodities trading company, Cargill is finally bowing out of Venezuela through an outright sale of assets to investors represented by Phoenix Global Investment and local firm Grupo Puig.

The US agribusiness giant says that the sale will encompass all of its operations in the country, including pasta, wheat flour, oil and animal feed plants.

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In a statement cited by Reuters, Cargill said: “The sale seeks to ensure the continuity of operations in the country and the access to quality products and services that the company has provided for over 34 years in Venezuela.”

Following the sale, Grupo Puig, the manufacturer of renowned cookie and cracker brands such as Galletas María and De Soda also based in Venezuela, will take the reins of Cargill operations in Venezuela.

Operations in the Latin American country have been extremely difficult particularly for US companies following a diplomatic spat between Nicholas Maduro’s leftist government and the administration of Donald Trump.

Companies were subjected to endless legal procedures that made conducting business in the country unviable.

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The hostile economic environment forced many to multinational corporations most notably Kellogg’s, General Motors, Kimberly Clark, Bridgestone Firestone, Pirelli, Smurfit Kappa, General Mills, and Clorox to exit the country.

And now Cargill is also packing up and ready to leave the country that has also had to contend with economic sanctions from Washington.

Sadly though, it remains unclear what will become of Cargill’s Un Vaso por La Vida (a cup for life), a social food program in alliance with Dividendo Voluntario para la Comunidad, an NGO, which provided undernourished children of ages between 2-6 years with a high-calorie-and-protein beverage as a complement to a deficient breakfast.

The exit follows an earlier announcement by Cargill that it will inject US$15 million in a new plant in India to manufacture supplements for cattle that claim to improve milk productivity.

The financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to take several months to complete, have not been disclosed.

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