* No other Cargill businesses affected
* Cargill owns large palm plantations in Indonesia
By Christine Stebbins
CHICAGO, July 31 Global commodities trading
giant Cargill Inc said on Tuesday a group of employees
at its vegetable oils trading desk in Singapore had left the
company but daily business operations have been unaffected.
"We have had employee changes and departures in Cargill's
oil palm and vegetable oil trading operations in Singapore. No
other Cargill businesses are affected. We are fortunate to have
strong trading and operations teams across Cargill's global
businesses that will be able to step in and continue our
operations," Cargill said in a statement.
"The departures will not affect our ability to fulfill any
current customer contracts or positions," Cargill added.
Company spokeswoman at Cargill's Minneapolis-based
headquarters declined to provide any comment or details on the
Cargill's sprawling Asian-Pacific operations are based at
its Singapore office, which was established in 1981. About 500
employees are based there with business operations including
animal nutrition, food ingredients, energy, shipping, trade
finance, and regional and global trading desks, according to
Cargill's web site.
U.S. industry sources say some six employees led by former
director Paul Hickman had left the company.
"It would appear that somebody just bought the six-man group
to get into the business," said one U.S. cash grains broker, who
"Normally this doesn't happen in the grain business. This is
more akin to what would happen in Wall Street," the broker said.
"It would appear that it's somebody who wants to get started
in the business. It doesn't appear they went to a company that
is in the business -- but that's just a speculation."
Trade sources said major Cargill competitors in Asia include
trading giants like Glencore ; Singapore-listed
merchants like Noble Group and Wilmar International
; Japanese trading houses; U.S. based giants like ADM
and Bunge Ltd ; and many others.
Cargill is one of the world's largest private companies
with 2011 revenues totaling $119 billion. Cargill operates in 65
countries and employs 139,000, focusing on the global food chain
and selected industrial and financial services.
Cargill owns and operates oil palm plantations in Indonesia,
including South Sumatra and West Kalimantan, which cover about
55,000 hectares (135,850 acres) and employ about 10,000 people,
according to Cargill's web site. Base products are crude palm
oil and palm kernel oil.