London | Reuters –– Members of the founding family of Louis Dreyfus Commodities have asked the majority shareholder of the commodities trader to buy out most of their stake, Britain’s Financial Times newspaper reported Sunday.
Quoting sources familiar with the situation, the newspaper said the family members had informed Margarita Louis-Dreyfus of their intention to sell 16 per cent of the holding company, worth about US$1 billion. They currently own 20 per cent of the group.
Louis-Dreyfus, who assumed control of the trading house in 2009 after the death of her husband, Robert, has been working with banks on ways to finance the purchase, the sources were quoted as saying.
One plan under discussion involves bringing in a strategic investor to buy the stake, which could mean a sale of shares to a sovereign wealth fund, the Financial Times reported.
Family trust Akira this month said it was ready to increase its stake in the holding company and saw current market conditions as favourable for such a move.
Akira is the vehicle through which Russian born Louis-Dreyfus controls Dreyfus, one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural goods. It currently holds about 80 percent of Louis Dreyfus Holding B.V., which in turn controls about 90 per cent of the group, the rest being owned by employees.
— Reporting for Reuters by Elizabeth Piper.