Louis Dreyfus sells US sugar business to focus on global sugar trading business

US – Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) has agreed to sell the business and assets of Imperial Sugar Company to US Sugar for undisclosed sum in order to focus on its global sugar trading business.

Imperial Sugar – which primarily sources raw cane sugar from Central and South America, and the Caribbean – was bought by Louis Dreyfus in 2012 for US$78 million.

The company operates a refinery at Port Wentworth in Savannah, Georgia, and a sugar transfer and liquefaction facility in Ludlow, Kentucky in addition to its consumer brands which are mainly sold across the southern US.

U.S. Sugar, on the other hand, farms 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) of sugar cane and operates a large milling and refining installation in Clewiston, Florida.

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The company expects synergy gains from the combination with Imperial Sugar and looks to expand its share in the U.S. market of production and sales.

Commenting on the sale, Mike Gorrell, president and CEO, Imperial Sugar said that the company has a strong company heritage and “looks forward to joining the US Sugar family.”

Following the sale, LDC will continue to operate in North America across a number of different business areas, including exporting cotton, soybeans, wheat and corn from the US.

“For LDC, this strategic decision does not impact our broader sugar merchandising business, to which we remain fully committed, and enables us to refocus resources on growing this core business, building on our strong global position,” said Enrico Biancheri, global head of LDC’s sugar platform.

The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Earlier, LDC said its profits rebounded last year, supported by robust food demand and rising prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a further financial boost to the family-owned firm after a deal to bring in a new shareholder.

LDC’s net income rose 66% to US$382 million in 2020, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from continuing operations increased 58% to US$1.324 billion.

The 170-year-old global merchant, controlled by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, ended a long hunt for an investor in November 2021 by agreeing to sell a 45% stake to Abu Dhabi investment firm ADQ.

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