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Family Business Roundup: Cargill, Cemex, and Volkswagen

Cargill plans to reduce antibiotic resistance in cattle; CEMEX to sell assets in Bangladesh, Thailand; and Volkswagen's US chief resigns amid on-going crisis

Cargill plans to reduce antibiotic resistance in cattle

Family-controlled Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, is reducing the use of antibiotics in its cattle following concerns about risks to humans from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The Minnesota-based company said it would eliminate 20% of antibiotics known to be important to humans from its four feed yards in Texas, Colorado and Kansas.

The changes could affect about 12 million cattle or 18% of the cattle Cargill process, according to a company statement.

Last month, the 150-year-old firm announced 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.

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.

Cemex to sell assets in Bangladesh, Thailand

Mexican building materials giant Cemex has reached an agreement to sell its operations in Bangladesh and Thailand for $53 million.

The sale of Thailand’s Siam City Cement is expected to close in the second quarter and will be used to pay down debt. The deal is part of a planned asset sales of up to $1.5 billion over the next two years.

“Although the proceeds from the asset sale with $53 million are rather small, we believe the benefit of cost savings going forward and the company’s ability to focus in Asia on its operations in the Philippines will deliver improving profitability and ultimately cash generation,” Barclays said in a report.

Last year, Cemex paid off the remnants of a $15 billion debt refinancing agreement that came about as a result of a facilities agreement in 2012.

Cemex was founded in Monterrey in 1906 and produces 162 million tonnes of cement each year.

Volkswagen's US chief resigns amid on-going crisis

Michael Horn, the CEO and president of Volkswagen Group of America, has stepped down nearly six months after the German carmaker became embroiled in the emissions-test cheating scandal.

Volkswagen said that Horn's departure was through “mutual agreement” but chose not to go provide further detail.

There is no word on who will take over his position, but for the time being the position will be filled by Hinrich J Woebcken.

The third-generation family business is controlled by the Piech and Porsche families. It reported 2015 first half revenues of €109 billion ($120 billion).

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