Tariff tiff: Louis Dreyfus Company sees earnings boost

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Agribusiness group, Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), reported higher annual profits saying its oilseed division benefited from the US-China tariff war.

Its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2018, show its net profit was US$355m, up 12% from a year ago, while segment operating results rose to $1.33bn from $1.06bn. 

We posted a very good performance for 2018, supported by a strong second half of the year, as expected, and despite lower sales and volumes due to divestments,”​ said Ian McIntosh, CEO, LDC, in a release.  He cited the group’s globally diversified portfolio and geographic footprint, together with its approach to risk management, as critical in this regard.

“Our results clearly demonstrate our capacity to rise to the challenge of managing differing trends among business platforms and the fallout of global trade tensions.”

Trade disputes between China and the US increased the demand for soybeans from South America, it said. While drought in Argentina hampered origination in that market, LDC said its oilseeds business set a new record in volumes exported from Brazil.

“These events allowed LDC to secure good margins for our crushing assets.”

Capital expenditure

The group’s annual report recalls how it invested in both China and South America last year.

In April 2018, LDC finalized the purchase​ of an oilseeds processing facility in Tianjin, in China, that allows the company to double its soybean processing capacity in that country. In Brazil, it started operating its new fleet of barges, as part of an export logistics project in Pará State, which it said is operated in conjunction with LDC’s grain platform.

That publication, in drawing down highlights from last year, also noted that LDC launched and implemented a soy sustainability policy​ in 2018; the document, it stressed, recognizes the sustainability challenges particular to soy cultivation.

Technology

LDC also sees blockchain technology as having the ability to transform the commodities sector. “Adoption will not happen overnight, there is still a long way to go to scale it up across the value chain, and collaboration is a prerequisite to realize the full potential of this technology.”

LDC, in January 2018, completed the first ever​ agriculture commodity deal using a blockchain platform.  

It also joined up with other agribusiness giants late last year to achieve the goal of modernizing trade operations through the use of such digital innovation along with processes powered by artificial intelligence. 

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