Cargill Agrees to Sell Stake in World’s Top Sugar Trader

Cargill Inc. agreed to sell its 50% stake in the world’s largest sugar trader to its Brazilian partner Copersucar SA as the closely held U.S. agricultural giant shifts focus to its food processing and meat businesses.

The deal to offload its stake in Alvean, which handles about a fifth of the world’s sugar shipments, was signed on Tuesday, the companies said in a statement, confirming an earlier Bloomberg report. The transaction is subject to approval from antitrust authorities.

The sale marks Cargill’s exit from the global sugar-trading business and comes about six years after partnering with Copersucar in a venture led out of Geneva trading offices. The Minneapolis-based company has been pivoting to food processing and meat when agricultural commodity traders have struggled in recent years to make money.

With Cargill’s exit, Alvean may evaluate potential strategic partners that could add value to the business, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The sugar trader will also seek to bring in an independent board member, according to the person. Alvean accounted for about 20% of the global sugar trade in the 2019-20 season.

The transaction follows a similar move by rival Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. Bunge Ltd., which formed a joint venture with BP Plc for sugar and ethanol, also said it plans to exit the business eventually. Louis Dreyfus Co. still has a sugar-trading desk, but in February it announced the sale of its Brazilian sugar and ethanol mills to Raizen SA, the South American nation’s biggest producer.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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