Louis Dreyfus is selling its subsidiary LDC Metals to China’s NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund which is owned by major copper and cobalt producers New China Capital Legend, AXAM Asset Management and China Molybdenum. Dreyfus intends to reinvest the sale proceeds in its grains and oilseeds business.
Meanwhile, Sierentz Global Merchants – which is owned by Louis Dreyfus family members, but not related to the company – registered a subsidiary, Sierentz Global Merchants Vostok, in Moscow on November 1. It will be headed by Louis Dreyfus’ ex-commercial director in Russia.
ED&F Man reported a pretax loss of USD 144.6 million for the year ending September 30, down from a pretax profit of USD 101.9 million a year earlier, partly due to the struggling sugar and grains sectors and a fraud with warehouse receipt transactions. Performance in the coffee and liquid segments, however, was good and the firm said its resources would ensure its operational existence in the foreseeable future.
Cargill has launched a website called FedByTrade where its 155,000 employees, communities and customers share stories of how they benefited from free trade agreements. The new initiative will help the company send a message to the White House which is looking to move away from multi-country trade deals like the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA.
Cargill also announced it is tying up with Techstars and Ecolab to set up a startup accelerator in Minneapolis which would allow the company to invest in future farm technology to address challenges faced by the food system. The first batch of 10 startups will arrive in the summer of 2018 for a 13-week programme which will focus on developing technology to shape the food industry.
Talking of tech, Unilever has started a pilot project to develop a sustainable tea supply chain using blockchain technology. The one-year-long project will track Malawi farmers supplying sustainably-sourced tea.
According to Olam, increasing cocoa consumption in emerging markets has reduced the global surplus to just around 50,000mt this year from the record 371,000mt in 2016. The demand is higher in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, India, Indonesia and China and is expected to increase by 5% globally. However, global cocoa processing is predicted to grow by only 3% compared to 5% in 2016/17. Olam is raising its capacity to make cocoa powder in Asia and considering a new mill in the US.
Nestle’s Purina PetCare group is reducing headcount by 300 across US facilities as it focuses on cost competitiveness and right-sizing the organisation. The aim is to increase investment in high growth areas and grow market share. Meanwhile, the Water Resources Control Board of California has asked Nestle to limit the withdrawal of water in San Bernardino National Forest unless it proves it has legal rights to extract it. A board engineer said a 20-month probe found that the company does not seem to have the valid rights. The board has set the limit at around 8.5 million gal, which is about 25% of what the company extracted in 2016.
In the UK, Tesco plans to stop wasting human edible food by March 2018. The CEO said the group is using an app, FoodCloud, to inform the local charities to come and pick up the surplus food at each of its stores every day. Tesco has signed the voluntary Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce food waste by 20% in 10 years.
On the other hand, fossil fuels companies have invested USD 180 billion in 318 projects since 2010 in the plastics industry by establishing cracking facilities across the US – a move which will increase plastic production by over 40% in the next decade. The American Chemistry Council explained that the drastic increase in plastics facilities is due to the shale gas boom, which brought down prices of the natural gas liquids used in making plastics by nearly two-thirds.
The war against sugar continues in the US, with Seattle implementing a USD 0.0175/ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages as of January 1, 2018. Meanwhile, there is increasing demand for by-products from cane. For instance, Telstar 18, the official ball of the 2018 Football World Cup, will use Keltan Eco rubber which is the first biologically based ethylene extracted from sugarcane. Adidas said that Keltan Eco rubber has a much lower carbon footprint compared to fossil fuel-based polymers.
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