Bunge CEO to leave

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Siegfried Layda
© GettyImages/Siegfried Layda
Bunge, one of the top four agriculture-trading houses, today announced that its CEO, Soren Schroder, will step down.

In that position since 2013, Schroder will continue in the role of CEO until a successor is named, said the group.

The Board has already initiated procedures to identify a replacement for him, it added.

Bunge has struggled to cope with the agricultural downturn of the past few years and more recently the tariff tiff between the US and China.

In August this year, during its second quarter financial results conference call, the CEO said it had anticipated a quick resolution to the US-China trade war so the company was positioned “long in futures”​ to hedge. However, the company bet wrong. Futures dropped, which offset the gains on bean basis ownership, said Schroder then.

M&A suitors to the ready?

With Schroder’s departure imminent, Bunge may reengage with parties looking to merge with the agribusiness giant, according to media reports. The CEO had reportedly resisted previous bids, including ones from Glencore and ADM, Bloomberg reported.

Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) also made overtures to Bunge earlier this year.  

Bunge has a larger foothold in South America than ADM, but in the US, ADM is more dominant. A merger of the two commodities giants would see a company with annual sales of around $110bn.

In May 2017, Bunge CEO, Soren Schroder, told analysts in an earnings conference call that the sector would start to consolidate in response to the ongoing decline in profit margins for the big players.

“We’re certainly open to look at anything that creates value for shareholders and makes us more efficient,”​ he said at the time.

Last year, soon after that statement from Schroder, Glencore confirmed it had contacted the New York listed grain trader in relation to kick-starting discussions about a takeover.

Bunge spurned Glencore’s approach then. 

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