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Family business roundup: Louis Dreyfus sells, Hinduja in talks to make acquisition

Family-controlled commodities giant Louis Dreyfus has sold its energy trading unit, while Indonesia’s Bumi Resources and Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group are also considering selling some of their assets to repay debts.

Family-controlled commodities giant Louis Dreyfus has sold its energy trading unit, while Indonesia’s Bumi Resources and Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group are also considering selling some of their assets to repay debts. 

Amsterdam-based Louis Dreyfus, one of Europe’s largest family businesses, has sold LDH Energy, the gas and oil trading company it owned jointly with Highbridge Capital – the hedge fund arm of JPMorgan.

LDH, which will be renamed Castleton Commodities International, has been bought by a group of investors that includes Highbridge’s founder Glenn Dubin, hedge fund manager Paul Jones Tudor and Paul Fribourg. Fribourg is the scion of the family behind another commodities company, Continental Grain, which in the 1990s sold its grain trading business to Cargill.

Louis Dreyfus, currently chaired by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, and Cargill are the so-called ABCD agricultural giants, alongside Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge. Louis Dreyfus said on 4 October that the sale of its energy unit will allow it to focus on its core agricultural operations.

Meanwhile, Hinduja Group, the London-based conglomerate that is controlled by the eponymous family, is looking set to acquire American oil and lubricant producer Houghton International.

According to reports in the financial press, Hinduja Group, which spans trading to metals and financial services, has made an offer of about $1.15 billion (€0.88 billion) and is likely to win the bid, topping offers by a number of private equity firms.

In the Middle East, family-owned Al Jaber Group is reportedly in talks to sell a number of non-core assets, as part of its debt restructuring plan.

The Abu Dhabi-based company, which operates in the construction, aviation and retail sectors, is trying to reach an agreement with its creditors to extend the repayment date of its debt, which is estimated at more than $1 billion.

Bumi Resources, the Indonesian coal miner that is part-controlled by the Bakrie family, is also considering selling some of its assets to repay loans. The company, which is currently facing an investigation into its corporate governance policies, said this week that it may sell its 50% stake in coal mine Fajar Bumi Sakti.  

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