LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Cargill is exiting coal trading and will stop dealing in gas and power in Europe, the global commodities giant said on Thursday, becoming the latest company to step away from the sectors that have been hit by falling margins.
The privately-held firm, which employs 140,000 people in 65 countries, said its Energy, Transportation and Metals (ETM) division would close the businesses following a review that identified limited long-term opportunities in the sectors.
"Significant changes in the coal and European power and gas markets have led Cargill ETM to withdraw from these two sectors," the company said in a statement.
"These changes come after a thorough review of its strategy to offer distinctive, long-term value to its customers."
A spokesman for the company said that the number of people affected by the closures would be "less than 50". Cargill's European gas and power trading was centred in Geneva, while the coal operation was also conducted from offices in North America and Singapore.
Cargill is following the example of many banks in the commodities sector.
JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Barclays , Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have all either reduced or closed their European power and gas trading units.
Cargill will continue to trade oil, petrochemicals, iron ore and steel, ocean freight and North American gas and power, the statement said.
While Cargill is one of the largest global commodity traders, its focus has historically been on grains and agricultural markets, rather than energy. (Reporting by David Sheppard; Editing by Anthony Barker)