Family-controlled Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, plans to stop selling fertiliser in central and eastern Europe, as it looks to cut back in the wake of falling crop prices and faltering growth in commodity markets.
Founded nearly 150 years ago, the Minnesota-based company said on Wednesday that it would stop selling fertiliser, crop chemicals and seeds to farmers in central and eastern Europe by the end of May.
A sharp drop in crop prices and faltering growth in several major commodity markets, such as Brazil and China, was identified as the reason for the cutback.
Another family-controlled agribusiness, Louis Dreyfus Commodities – one of the largest fertiliser distributors in West Africa and South America – has also sought buyers for its fertiliser businesses.
The closely held-firm, which is led by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, has also been affected by falling prices that have eroded margins.
Last month, Cargill also announced it would spin off its Mosaic fertiliser business to stakeholders in a deal worth an estimated $24 billion. The move also opens the way to a possible takeover bid for Mosaic.
Cargill was founded in 1865 by Will Cargill, who was later joined by his two brothers, Sam and James. Today the business is still controlled by around 80 members of the Cargill and MacMillan families.
In 2015, Cargill posted revenues of $1.58 billion, a 13% decrease from $1.8 billion the previous year. The secretive family still own 88% of the company and is currently in the fourth generation.