Cargill sells Swiss animal feed business

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock
German investor group, Aurelius, has acquired Cargill’s animal nutrition business in Switzerland.

The companies did not disclose the financial details of the deal, which they announced was signed off and closed on Monday this week, November 6.

Aurelius says its mission is to acquire, restructure and eventually sell companies in special situations, such as corporate spin-offs and privately held companies “with issues”. ​The German group typically deploys between €5m and €80m per deal, according to AltAssets​.

A spokesperson for Cargill told us about the rationale for the divestment of the Swiss feed business:

"We conducted a full operational and geographical review of European operations, and decided it was in the best long-term interest of our organization to divest of our animal nutrition business in Switzerland.  We are confident that Aurelius is the right new owner for this business and that they will continue to meet the needs of Swiss customers. We remain committed to our successful animal nutrition businesses across Europe, and will continue to explore opportunities to further grow our business in this important market."

When pressed on whether the Swiss division had not been performing as well as Cargill had envisaged, she said: 

"We made a strategic business decision in the best long-term interest of all stakeholders to find a new owner who could take a localized approach, grow the business and continue to serve the needs of Swiss customers."

Cargill's Swiss animal feed business-generated turnover of around €130m for the year to May, reported Aurelius.

The US company has been present in Switzerland since 1956. The Cargill Swiss feed business includes three animal feed production sites: in Lucens, Gossau and Kaiseraugst; it employs around 250 people. Those employees are set to be transitioned to Aurelius under existing contracts. 

In 2013, Cargill announced it was selling its Swiss flour business and investing in the Kaiseraugst and Lucens feed facilities as part of its overall strategy to position its animal nutrition business in Switzerland for growth. That business produces premix and complete feed for poultry, swine and cattle, as well as pets and medicated feed.

Aurelius said its operational experts would support management in executing a carve-out from Cargill ensuring minimal distraction to the company’s Swiss-based animal nutrition business.

Investments in India  

Monday also saw Cargill reveal its plans to invest US$240m in India over the next five years.

The announcement was made by Peter Van Deursen, CEO Cargill Asia Pacific, at the World Food India Conference.

The capital outlay will cover the Minnesota headquartered group’s core businesses including, edible oil, cocoa and chocolates, starches and sweeteners and animal nutrition in India. 

A spokesperson for Cargill did not disclose the percentage breakdown of the likely spend per segment, but told us: “This investment reinforces how important India is to Cargill, overall, and to our animal nutrition business.”

Brazil beckons

Meanwhile, in October, the Minnesota-based company said it had reached an agreement to acquire Brazilian feed additive company Integral Animal Nutrition.

The proposed acquisition is a way for the company to speed its growth in Brazil, said Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director for Cargill Animal Nutrition.

“Integral’s capabilities in [minerals] and premixes will help accelerate Cargill’s growth in Brazil,” ​he told FeedNavigator. “Today, the majority of cattle herds in Brazil are grown in pasture, representing a large profit pool and many opportunities for Cargill.”

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