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Louis-Dreyfus wants family trust to increase stake in commodities firm

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the controlling shareholder and chair of the eponymous Dutch family firm founded in 1851, has said she plans to increase her family trust’s stake in the company, buying out family members not part of the trust.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the controlling shareholder and chair of the eponymous Dutch family firm founded in 1851, has said she plans to increase her family trust’s stake in the company, buying out family members not part of the trust.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung am Sonntag, Louis-Dreyfus said she was prepared to buy as many shares in Louis Dreyfus Commodities as possible, beginning immediately.

She also said she expects revenues to increase to $60 billion (€44 billion) this year, up from $57 billion in 2012.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities is one of three branches of Louis Dreyfus Group, with fourth-gen Gerard Louis-Dreyfus heading the energy and infrastructure arm and his brother Philippe at the helm of the shipping and offshore industrial branch.

The original family firm was founded by Leopold Louis-Dreyfus, who delivered grain for sale between France and Switzerland.

The Akira Trust reportedly has a 65% stake in the firm, which is one of the world’s biggest players in agriculture.

Louis-Dreyfus, 50, is the widow of former fourth-gen chief executive Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who, prior to his death from leukaemia in 2009, had made a commitment to his heirs to start buying out minority shareholders from 2012 onwards. He was the cousin of Gerard and Philippe.

Following his death the future of the company was uncertain, and in 2010 the company revealed plans to merge with Singapore-based rival Olam; however, by 2011 these talks had collapsed.

Louis-Dreyfus has previously stated her intention to keep the company private. However, in September she appointed Serge Schoen as chair of the supervisory board – a former commodities trader who has previously said the company might need to go public within the next five years in order to improve access to capital.

In September 2012 the company tapped into the debt market, issuing a $350 million bond – the first in the company’s history.

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